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da^ Iff&Sn^Sr &<b. Aaaa.,11 

I&arbar* College Hifcrarg 


.fy.sA^Q^,; Lt.s:o, 

9 ^ 





\J J. M 





Andrew Pleken and Son, LtarpooL 




his majesty's principal secretary of state 
for the colonies, 

&c &c ftc. 






Toxteth Park, LancatMre, 
UiSipt. 1828. 


MY only object, in submitting the following 
sketches to the public, is, to make the maritime 
Colonies of British America better known than 
they are, in the United Kingdom. I have had 
better opportunities than many others of acquir- 
ing a more perfect knowledge of those countries, 
particularly as respects those parts of which 
scarcely any account exists. What 1 have writ 
ten is principally from personal observation, and 
claim only to myself the merit of having written 
nothing but substantial facts. 

The numerous accounts of various parts of 
the United States, which have been written by 
cursory visitants, or by designing land specula* 
tors, and which have been read with avidity in 
these kingdoms, have occasioned many to emi- 


grate to the United States of America, who 
might have removed and settled in our North 
American Colonies under much more favourable 

I intended to have embodied with these 
sketches a collection of information relative to 
the condition of those who emigrated at different 
periods from Great Britain and Ireland to North 
America, and some observations on emigration ; 
but so much valuable matter has lately appeared 
on these subjects in the parliamentary papers 
and reports, that for the present I consider it 
as well to decline any thing more than a des- 
criptive sketch of the lower Colonies. I have 
said little concerning the aboriginal inhabitants, 
although I had collected materials for the purpose; 
but these I was not enabled to complete in the 
manner 1 wished, and have, consequently, laid 
the same aside for the present. 

I have, on the subject of emigration, particu- 
larly to recommend Colonel Cockburn's report 
and the appendix to it. His evidence in the 
reports published by order of the House of Com- 
mons, on emigration, and that of Mr. Bliss, of 
New Brunswick, are correct and valuable. Mr. 
Uniacke, attorney-general of Nova Scotia, is 
too sanguine : in this respect only has he erred. 


The Rev. Dr. Strahan, of Upper Canada, is too* 
visionary, and led away by a bigotry in religious j 
matters that will never take root in America. 
His statement respecting the number of clergy- 
men of the church of England required in that 
Province, is too rediculous to be for a moment 
listened to. A spirit which prevails (except in • 
Lower Canada, among the catholics,) all over 
America, in respect to religion, will not admit 
of forcing upon the people clergymen of any 
particular creed ; and I do not hesitate to say, 
that nothing would sooner destroy the general 
affection for the British government than any 
such attempt. I am no advocate for men leaving 
their native country; nor for tearing asunder those 
attachments and connexions which are fondly 
cherished from infancy to old age ; but if the con- 
sideration of removing a family from poverty, and 
bringing them up afterwards in the confidence 
that they will not be reduced to want the neces- 
saries of life ; or, if the condition of young men 
who cannot find employment in their native 
country, be sufficient reasons to justify emigration, 
it will, I firmly believe, answer the views of such 
people better to remove to British America rather 
than to the United States. I might, without much 
difficulty, establish this fact, were it necessary. 


Let it be remembered, however, that neither 
in America nor in any other country, can a man 
or his family prosper long without industry, per- 
severance, and good management; and those 
who may think otherwise, had better remain 
where they are. 

In America, however, a man brought up to 
steady work is always sure to find employment; 
and no one who has bodily strength, need appre- 
hend being reduced to wretchedness, or want 
of food or clothing, except when brought on by 
indolence or want of economy. 

Numerous, indeed, are the examples that 
I have known of the prosperity of individuals, 
whole families, and entire settlements in Ame- 

I would point out, in particular, the settle- 
ments formed by the late Earl of Selkirk in 
Prince Edward Island. Much has been said 
to the prejudice of that nobleman, . and well 
acquainted as I am with his views and measures, 
I am confident they were not only good and 
honourable in regard to himself, but honest and 
properly intended, as respected every other 

Our North American possessions are not, 
it is true, viewed with the same interest in Eng- 


land as are our West India Islands ; but those 
Colonies are, notwithstanding, and especially in 
another view, much more important. The soil, 
climate, and productions, adapt them for the 
support of as great a population as any country 
N on earth ; and in this respect they are infinitely 
more valuable than any of our other possessions. 
New Holland and. Van Dieman's Land may be 
considered an exception, but the distance of 
these countries from England will be for ever 
an important objection to them. 

Account of prince 33tif»arti Mm*, 

&C. &c. 


Geographical position of Prince Edward Island . . . .General aspect 
of the country.... Counties and lesser divisions.... Descrip- 
tion of Charlotte Town, and the principal Settlements. 

"rings Edward Island, in North America, is 
situated in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, within the 
latitudes of 40° and 47° 10' north, and longitudes 62° 
and 65° west. Its length, following a course through 
the centre of the Island, is 140 miles; and its greatest 
breadth 34 miles. ' It is separated from Nova Scotia 
by Northumberland Strait, which is only nine miles 
broad, between Cape Traverse and Cape Tormentine. 
Cape Breton lays within 27 miles of the east point ; 
and Cape Ray, the nearest point of Newfoundland, is 
125 miles distant. The distances from Charlotte 
Town to the following places, are, to the Land's End, 
England, 2280 miles; to Saint John's, Newfoundland, 
550 miles; to Saint John's, New Brunswick, by sea, 
360 miles, and across the Peninsula of Nova Scotia, 
135 miles; to Quebec, 580 miles; to Halifax, through 
the Gut of Canso, 240 miles, and by Pictou, 140 
miles; to Miramichi, 120 miles; to Pictou 40 miles. 
In coming within view of Prince Edward Island, 
its aspect is that of a level country, covered to the 
water's edge with trees, and the outline of its surface 



scarcely curved with the appearance of hills. On 
approaching nearer, and sailing round its shores, 
(especially on the north-*ul»> 4he prospect varies, by 
the intervention of small villages, cleared farms, red 
headlands, bays and rivers, which pierce the country; 
sandhills covered with grass, and the gentle diversity 
of hill and dale, which the cleared parts present; 
particularly those bordering on small lakes or ponds, 
which, from the sea, appear like so many valleys. 

On landing and travelling through the country, 
its varied, though not highly romantic scenery, and 
its recent agricultural and other improvements, attract 
the attention of all who possess a taste for rural 
beauties. Owing to the manner in which it is inter- 
sected by various branches of the sea, there is no part 
at a greater distance than eight miles from the ebbing 
and flowing of the tide. 

It abounds with streams and springs of the purest 
water, free from the least impregnation of mineral 
substances; and it is remarked, that in digging wells 
no instance of being disappointed in meeting with 
good water has occurred. There are no mountains on 
the island. A chain of hills intersects the country 
between De Sable and Grenville Bay; and in different 
parts the lands rise to moderate heights; but in gene- 
ral the surface of the island may be considered as 
deviating no more from the level than could be wished 
for the purpose of agriculture. 

Almost every part affords agreeable prospects, 
and beautiful situations. In summer and autumn the 


forests exhibit a rich and splendid foliage, varying 
from the deep green of the fir, to the lively tints of 
the birch and roapte; and the character of the scenery 
has at these seasons a smiling loveliness — a teeming 

The island is divided into three counties, these 
again into parishes, and the whole sub-divided into 
sixty-seven townships, containing about 20,000 acres 
each. The plot of a town, containing a certain number 
of building and pasture lots, is reserved in each 
county. These are George Town, in King's County; 
Charlotte Town, in Queen's County, and Prince 
Town, in Prince's County, 

Charlotte Town, the seat of government, is situa- 
ted on the north bank of Hilsborough River, near its 
confluence with the rivers Elliot and York. Its har- 
bour is considered one of the best in the Gulf of St. 
jLawrence. The passage into it from Northumberland 
Strait leads to the west of Point Prime, between St. 
Peter's and Governor's Island, up Hilsborough Bay 
to the entrance of the harbour. Here its breadth is 
little more than half a mile, within which it widens 
and forms a safe and capacious basin, and then 
branches into three beautiful and navigable rivers. 
The harbour is commanded by different situations that 
might easily be strengthened so as to defend the town 
against any attack by water. At present there is a 
battery in front of the town, near the barracks, ano- 
ther on Fanning Bank, and a block house at the 
western point of the entrance. 


The plan of the town is regular, the streets are 
broad, and intersect each other at right angles; and 
a number of vacancies are reserved for squares. The 
building lots are eighty feet in front, and run back 
160 feet; to each of these a pasture lot of twelve acres 
(within the royalty) was originally granted; and there 
was formerly a common laying between the town and 
pasture lots ; which, however, Lieutenant-Governor 
Fanning thought fit to grant away in lots to various 

Charlotte Town stands on ground which rises in 
gentle heights from the banks of the river, and con- 
tains about 350 houses, and about 3000 inhabitants. 
A number of the houses lately built are finished 
in a handsome stile, and have a lively and pleasing 
appearance. The Court House, where the Court 
of Chancery, as well as the Court of Judicature are 
held, and in which the Legislative Assembly also 
sit; the Episcopal church; the new Scotch church, a 
fine building lately erected; the Catholic and Metho- 
dist chapels, and the new market, are the only 
public buildings. The barracks are pleasantly situa- 
ted near the water, and a neat area or square occupies 
the space between those of the officers and privates. 
They have lately undergone considerable repairs, and 
are convenient and comfortable. 

On entering and sailing up the harbour, Charlotte 
Town appears to much advantage, with a clean, lively, 
and prepossessing aspect, and much larger than it in 


reality is. This deception arises from its occupying 
an extensive surface, in proportion to the number of 
houses, to most of which large gardens are attached. 
Few places can offer more agreeable walks, or prettier 
situations, than those in the vicinity of Charlotte 
Town ; among the latter, Spring Park, St. Avard's, 
Spring Gardens, Fanning's Bank, on which His Excel- 
lency Governor Ready is making great improvements, 
and some farms, laying between the town and York 
River, are conspicuous. 

On the west side of the harbour lays the fort, or 
Warren Farm. This is perhaps the most beautiful 
situation on the island, and the prospect from it em- 
braces a view of Charlotte Town, Hilsborough River 
for several miles, part of York and Elliot Rivers, a 
great part of Hilsborough Bay, Governor's Island, and 
Point Prime. A small valley and pretty rivulet wind 
through the middle of its extensive clearings, and the 
face of this charming spot is agreeably varied into 
gently rising grounds, small vales, and level spaces. 

When the island was taken, the French had a gar- 
rison, and extensive improvements in this place; and 
here the commandant chiefly resided. Afterwards, 
when the island was divided into townships, and 
granted away to persons who were considered as 
having claims on government, this tract was reserved 
for His Majesty's use. Governor Patterson, however, 
took possession of it for himself, and expended a con- 
siderable sum in its improvement. 


The late Abh£ De Callonne (brother of the famous 
financier) afterwards obtained the use and possession 
of this place daring his stay on the island; and the 
family of the late General Fanning have (by some 
means) obtained a grant of this valuable tract, the 
improvement of which is now altogether neglected. 

During the summer and autumnal months, the 
view from Charlotte Town is highly interesting ; the 
blue mountains of Nova Scotia appearing in the 
distance, the sea through the entrance of the harbour, 
the basin, and part of Elliot, York, and Hilsborough 
Rivers, forming a fine branching sheet of water; the 
distant farms, partial clearings, and grassy glades, 
intermingled with trees of various kinds, but chiefly 
the bircb, beech, maple,, and spruce fir, all combine 
to form a landscape that would please even the most 
scrupulous picturesque tourist. 

No part of th& inland could have been more judi- 
ciously selected for its metropolis, than that which 
has been chosen for Charlotte Town ; it being situated 
almost in the centre of the country, and of easy access, 
either by water, or by 'the different roads leading to it 
from the settlements* . 

Geofqge Town (or Three Rivers) — The plot laid out 
for this intended town is situated also near the June* 
tion of three fine rivers, on the south-east part of the 
island. Very little has been done as yet* towards 
forming a town in this place, although it has often 
been pointed out as better* adapted for the seat of 
government than Charlotte Town. It has certainly a 


more immediate communication with the ocean, but 
it is not so conveniently situated for an intercourse 
with many parts of the island. Its excellent harbour, 
however, and its very desirable situation for the cod 
and herring fisheries, will, probably, at no very distant 
period, make it a place of considerable importance* 
It is well calculated for the centre of any trade 
carried on within the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The 
harbour is not frozen over for some time after all the 
other harbours in the gulf, and it opens earlier in the 
spring. A few hours will carry a vessel from it to the 
Atlantic, through the Gut of Canso, and vessels can 
lay their course from thence to Three Rivers, with a 
south west wind, (which prevails in the summer) when 
they cannot lay up to Charlotte Town. This harbour 
lays also more in the track to Quebec, and other places 
up the gulf. Its access is safe, having a fine broad 
and deep entrance, free from sandbars, or indeed any 
danger, and can be easily distinguished by two islands, 
one on each side. Excellent fishing grounds lay in its 
vicinity, and herrings enter it in large shoals early in 

The settlements contiguous to George Town, or 
Cardigan, Montague, aadBrudnelle Rivers, are rapidly 
extending, and the settlers are directing their atten- 
tion more to agriculture than formerly. A considerable 
quantity of timber has within the last twenty years 
been exported from hence, and a number of superior 
ships have also been built for the British market. 
At present there are two well-established ship-yards, 


one at Brudnelle Point, the other at Cardigan River, 
where some large vessels are building. 

Prince Town (or more properly the point of a 
peninsula, so called) is situated on the south side of 
Richmond Bay, and on the north side of the island. 
It is one of the three places laid out for county 
towns. There are no houses, however, erected on the 
building lots, and the pasture lots have long since 
been converted into farms, which form a large strag- 
gling settlement. 

Darnley Basin lays between Prince Town and 
the point of Allanby, which forms the south side 
of the entrance to Richmond Bay. Along Alanby 
Point, and round the basin, a range of excellent farms 
extends, some of which stretch across the Point, and 
have two water fronts, one on the basin, the other on 
the gulf shore. 

The district of Richmond Bay comprehends a 
number of settlements; the principal of which (after 
Prince Town and Darnley Basin) are Ship-yard, Indian 
River, Saint Eleanor's, Bentick River, Grand River, 
and the village along the township, No. 13. 

Richmond Bay is ten miles in depth, and nine 
miles in breadth. The distance across the Isthmus, 
between the head of this bay and Bedeque, on the 
opposite side of the island, is only one mile. 

• There are six islands laying within or across the 
entrance of Richmond Bay, and its shores are indent- 
ed with numerous coves, creeks, and rivers. It has 
three entrances formed by the island, but the eastern- 


most is the only one that will admit shipping. This 
place is conveniently situated for cod and herring 
fisheries, and was resorted to by the New England 
fishermen before the American revolution. During 
the last twenty years, several cargoes of timber have 
been exported from, this port, and a number of ships 
and brigs have been lately built here for the English 

Cascumpeque is about sixteen miles north from 
.Richmond Bay, and twenty-four miles from the north 
cape of the island. Its harbour is safe and convenient, 
the lands are well adapted for agriculture; and this 
place, by its advantageous situation, is well calculated 
for extensive fishing establishments. 

New London, or the district of Grenville Bay, 
includes the settlements round the bay, and on the 
rivers that fall into it, and those at the ponds, between 
the harbour and Alanby Point* On the east, lays the 
very pretty settlement called Cavendish. The harbour 
of New London will not admit vessels requiring more 
than twelve feet water; otherwise it is safe and con- 

Harrington, or Grand Rustico Bay, has two en- 
trances, and a harbour for small brigs and schooners. 
Here are two villages inhabited by Acadian French ; 
the surrounding parts of the bay, with Whately and 
Hunter Rivers, have within the last ten or twelve years 
become populously settled, by an acquisition of in- 
dustrious and useful peasantry from different parts of 
Scotland. There is an island laying across between the 


two entrances, part of which is covered with woods, and 
the rest, about three miles in extent, forms sandy 
downs, on which grows a sort of strong bent grass.* 

Breckly Point and Cove is a pretty and pleasantly 
situated settlement, between Grand Rustico and Stan- 
hope Cove. Its inhabitants are industrious farmers in 
easy circumstances, all of whom are freeholders^ . It 
has a harbour for boats. 

Little Rustico, or Stanhope Cove, is esteemed one 
of the most beautiful settlements on the island. Ite 
situation is agreeable, and the prospects and exposures 
of many of the extensive farms are delightful. IU 
distance from Charlotte Town, by a good road across 
the island, is only eleven miles. The lands are the 
property of Sir James Montgomery, and his brothers. 
The harbour will only admit small vessels. 

Bedford, or Tracady Bay, is five miles to the east- 
ward of Stanhope Cove, It has a harbour for schoon- 
ers and small brigs, the entrance of which is narrow, 
and "lays at the west end of a narrow ridge of sand 
hills, which stretch across from the east side of the 

•On Hunter River, which falls into Harrington Bay, a settle- 
ment called New Glasgow was planted in 1818, by W. E. Cormack, 
Esq. now of St. John's, Newfoundland. The settlers went from 
the vicinity of Glasgow. This gentleman has sinoe performed a 
journey, which no other European ever attempted, across New- 
foundland.— A most arduous and perilous undertaking, when one 
considers the rugged and broken configuration of the country. 

f The entrances to all the harbours on the north side of the 
island, are cither at the end, or, through the narrow ridges of 
sandy downs— thus, the entrances to the harbours of Cascumpeque, 
New London, Grand Rustico, and Tracady are at the west end 


Savage Harbour lays a few miles to the eastward 
of Tracady. Its entrance is shallow, and will only 
admit boats. The lands are tolerably well settled, and 
the inhabitants are chiefly Highlanders. The distance 
across the island, between this place and Hilsborough 
River, is about two miles. 

The Lake settlement, situated between Savage 
Harbour and Saint Peter's, is a pretty interesting place. 
The farms have extensive clearings, and fronts on a 
pond or lagoon, which has an outlet to the gulf. 

Saint Peter's is on the' north side of the island, 
about twenty miles to the eastward of Charlotte Town. 
Its harbour, owing to a sandy bar across the entrance, 
.willtonly admit small vessels. - There are a number 
of settlers on each side of its bay, which is about nine 
miles long; and the river Morell falling into it from 
the south, is a fine rapid stream, frequented annually 
by the salmon. 

The lands fronting on this bay belong principally 
to Messrs. C. & E. Worrell. They reside on the 
property, where they are making considerable improve- 
ments, and have built granaries, an immense bam, a 
very superior grist mill, offices, &c. 

Greenwich is situated on a peninsula, between the 
bay and the gulf of Saint Lawrence. It is a charming 

of such ridges; and jthe other harbours, except that of Richmond 
Bay, have their entrances through similar downs. Strangers are 
apt to be deceived when, approaching these harbours, as they 
have a general resemblance. . It is therefore advisable to have a 


spot; and its exposure, and the prospect it affords,, 
are agreeable and beautiful,* 

District of the Capes. This district extends along 
the north shore of the island, from Saint Peter's to the 
east point. There are no harbours between these two 
places; but several ponds, or small lakes, intervene. 
For a considerable distance back from the gulf shore 
the lands are entirely cleared, with the exception of 
detached spots or clumps of the spruce fir. The 
inhabitants are chiefly from the west of Scotland, and 
from the Hebrides, and their labour has been chiefly 
applied to agriculture. They raise, even with the old 
mode of husbandry, to which they tenaciously adhere, 
valuable crops, and the greater part of the wheat, 
batley, oats, and pork, brought to Charlotte Town, is 
from this district. It has the eminent advantage of 
having a regular supply of seaware (various marine 
weeds) thrown on its shores, which makes an excellent 
manure, particularly for barley. 

Colville, Rollo, Fortune, Howe, and Boughton 
Bays, are small harbours, wjth thriving settlements, N 
situated on the south-east of the island, between 
Three Rivers and the east point. The inhabitants 
are principally Highlanders and Acadian French. 

Murray Harbour lays between Cape Bear and 
Three Rivers. It is well sheltered, but the entrance 
is intricate, and large ships can only take in part of 

* This estate is involved in a chancery suit, and the son of the 
original complainant (Bowley) died, old and grey, three years 
ago, completely worn out in the cause. 


their cargoes within the bar. Several cargoes of 
timber have been exported from this place, and a 
number of excellent ships, brigs, and smaller vessels 
have been built here by Messrs. Cambridge and Sons, 
whose extensive establishments, mills, ship-yards, &c. 
have for many years afforded employment to a number 
of people. The cultivation of the soil has however 
for a long time been neglected; but an accession of 
industrious people, who have settled here within the 
last few years, are making extensive improvements. 

Belfast. This district may be said to include the 
villages of Great and Little Belfast, Orwell, and Point 
Prime; with the settlements at Pinnette River, Flat 
River, and Belle Creek. At the time the island was 
taken from the French, a few inhabitants were settled 
in this district; but from that period, the lands re- 
mained in a great measure unoccupied, until the year 
1803, when the late enterprising Earl of Selkirk 
arrived on the island with 800 emigrants, whom he 
settled along the front of the townships that now con- 
tain those flourishing settlements. His Lordship 
brought his colony from the Highlands and Isles of 
Scotland, and by the convenience of the tenures under 
which he gave them lands, and by persevering indus- 
try on their part, these people have arrived at more 
comfort and happiness, than they ever experienced 
before. The soil in this district is excellent; the 
inhabitants are all in easy circumstances; and their 
number has increased from 800 to nearly 3000. They 
raise heavy crops, the overplus of which they carry 


either to Charlotte Town, Pictou, Halifax, or New- 

Tryon is situated about twenty miles west of 
Charlotte Town, nearly opposite to Bay de Verts, in 
Nova Scotia. It is one of the most populous, and is 
considered the prettiest village on the island. A ser- 
pentine river winds through it, on each side of which 
are large and beautiful farms. The tide flows up 
about two miles, but the harbour will only admit of 
small schooners and boats, it having a very dangerous 
bar off the entrance : extensive clearings were made 
here when possessed by the French. 

Bedeque is situated on the south-west part of 
the island, about eighteen miles from Tryon. It is 
populously settled on the different sides of the two 
rivers into which the harbour branches. The harbour 
is well sheltered by a small island, near which ships 
anchor and load. There are two or three ship-building 
establishments here, and it has for some time been a 
shipping port for timber. 

Egmoht Bay lays to the west of -Bedeque, It is a 
large open bay, sixteen miles broad from the west 
point to Cape Egmont, and about ten deep. Perceval, 
Enmore, and two other small rivers fall into it, on the 
borders of which are excellent marshes. There is no 
harbour within this bay for large vessels, and as the 
shoals lay a considerable distance off, it is dangerous 
for strangers to venture in, even with small vessels. 
The inhabitants are chiefly Acadian French, who live 
in three small villages on the east side of the bay. 


The whole population consists only of twenty-three 

Hilsborough River enters the country in a north- 
easterly direction. The tide flows twenty miles fur- 
ther up than Charlotte Town, and three small rivers 
branch off to the South. ' 

The scenery at and near the head of this fine river 
is delightful. Mount Stewart, the property and 
present residence of John Stewart, Esq. is a charm- 
ing spot, and the prospect from the house, which is* 
on a rising ground, about half a mile from the river, 
is beautiful and interesting. The view downwards 
commands several windings of the Hilsborough and 
part of Pisquit Rivers; the edges of each are fringed 
with marsh grass, and a number of excellent farms range 
along the banks, while majestic birch, beech, and maple 
trees, growing luxuriantly on the south side, and 
spruce fir, larch, beech* and poplar on the north side, 
fill up the back ground. ..Upwards, the meandering 
river, on which one may now and then see passen- 
gers crossing in a -log canoe, or an Indian with his 
family paddling along in a bark one; together with a 
view of St. Andrew's, the seat of the Catholic Bishop,* 
and the surrounding farms and woods all combine to 
form another agreeable landscape. 

York River penetrates the island in a north-west- 
erly course, and the tide flows up about nine miles. 
On each side there is a straggling settlement, and a 

*The Right Reverend Aneas M'Eacheran, titular Bishop of 
Rosen, an excellent and venerable character, equally esteemed 
by the members of every profession. 


number of the inhabitants have excellent farms, with 
a considerable proportion of the land under cultivation. 

Elliot River branches off nearly west from Char- 
lotte Town harbour, and intersects the island, winding 
in that direction about twelve miles. A number of 
small streams or creeks fall into this river, and the 
lands on both sides are divided into farms, and settled 
on. The scenery about this river has as much of the 
romantic character as is to be met with in any part 
of the island. 

There are a number of other though lesser settle- 
ments. The principal of these are — Tigniche, near 
the north cape ; the inhabitants of which are Aca- 
dian French. Crapaud and De Sable, between Hils- 
borough Bay and Tryon. Cape Traverse and Seven 
Mile Bay, between Tryon and Bedeque, and the Aca- 
dian settlement at Cape Egmont. Settlements are 
also forming along all the roads, particularly in the 
vicinity of Charlotte Town. The only tract of any 
extent bordering on the sea, without settlers, is that 
between the north cape and west point. There are 
a number of fine streams of waters and ponds in this 
district ; the soil is rich, and the land is covered 
with lofty trees. A few people have settled near the 
north cape, who have raised heavy crops of wheat, 
barley and potatoes; and the whole will likely be 
settled in a few years. Its only disadvantage is having 
no harbour; but one may always land in a boat, 
if the wind does not blow strongly on the shore; 
and fish of various descriptions may be caught in 
abundance, any where along the coast. 



Structure of the soil, and natural productions. 

The general surface of the soil is, first, a thin layer 
of black or brown mould, composed of decayed vege- 
table substances; then, to the depth of a foot or a 
little more, a light loam prevails, inclining in some 
places to a sandy, in others to a clayey character; 
below which, a stiff clay resting on abase of sandstone 
predominates. The prevailing colour of both soil and 
stone is red. There are only a few exceptions to this 
general structure of the soil: these are the bogs or 
swamps, the formation of which is either a soft spungy 
turf or a layer of black mould resting on a bed of 
white clay or sand. 

In its natural state, the quality of the soil may be 
readily ascertained by the description of wood growing 
on it: being richest where the maple, beech, black 
birch, and a mixture of other trees grow; and l<?ss 
fertile where the fir, spruce, larch, and other species of 
the pine tribe are most numerous. 

The soil is friable and easily 'tilled, and there is 
scarcely a stone on the surface of the island that will 
impede the progress of the plough. There is no lime- 
stone nor gypsum, nor has coal yet been discovered, 


although indications of its existence are produced* 
Iron ore is by many thought to abound, but no speci- 
mens have as yet been shewn, although the soil is in 
different places impregnated with an oxide of iron, 
and a sediment is lodged in the rivulets running 
from various springs, which appears to consist of 
metallic oxides. 

Red clay of a superior quality for bricks abounds 
in all parts of the island, and a strong white clay, of 
a description fit for potteries is met with, but not in 
large quantities. One observes, now and then, a 
solitary block of granite on the surface of the ground, 
but two stones of this description are seldom found 
within a mile of each other.* On some of the bogs, 
or swamps, there is scarcely any thing but shrubs and 
moss growing; these are rather dry, and resemble the 
turf bogs id Ireland. Others again are wet and 
spungy, producing dwarf spruces, alder, and a variety 
of shrubs. Such portions of these bogs as have been 
drained and cultivated form excellent meadows. There 
are other tracts, called in the island barrens, some of 

* Volneyand some others have remarked, that the granite 
base or nucleus of the Alloghanys, extends so far as to form the 
sub-stratum of all the countries of America, laving to the east- 
ward of those mountains, from the promontory, at tho entrance 
of tho river St. Lawrence, where they rise, to where they ter- 
minate in the southern states. To this, as a general rule, there is 
however one or two exceptions. The base of Prince Edward 
Island, which is sand-stone, appears to extend under the bed of 
Northumberland Strait, into the northern part of Nova 8cotia, 
and into the eastern part of New Brunswick, until it is lost in the 
line of contact between it and the granite base of the Alleghanys, 
about the river Nipisighit. 


which, in their natural state, produce nothing but a 
dry moss/ or a few shrubs* The soil of these is a 
light brown or whitish sand ; some of the lands laid 
formerly waste by fire, being naturally light and 
sterile, incline to this character. Both the bogs and 
swamps, as well as the barrens, bear but a small 
proportion to the whole surface of the island; and, 
as they may all, with judicious management, be im- 
proved advantageously, it cannot be said that there is 
an acre of the whole incapable of cultivation. 

On the borders of the different arms of the sea 
that penetrate the island, there are a number of 
marshes, which are covered at high water, but left 
dry by the ebb. These produce a strong grass, which 
is extremely useful for feeding cattle during winter* 
The marshes, when dyked, yield heavy crops of wheat, 
or if left without ploughing become excellent meadows. 

Large tracts of the original pine forests have been 
destroyed by fires, that have raged over the island at 
different periods; in the place of which, white birches, 
spruce firs, poplars and wild cherry trees have sprung 
up. The largest trees of this second growth that I 
have seen were from ten to twelve inches diameter, 
and growing in places laid waste by a tremendous 
fire that raged in 1750. It seems extraordinary, that 
where the original forest is destroyed in America, 
trees of a different species should start up. The 
naturalist will perhaps doubt the accuracy of this cir- 
cumstance, as tending in some measure to derange his 
system; but such however is the case, without excep- 


tion, wherever the woods have been destroyed by fire, 
or otherwise, and the land allowed to remain unculti- 
vated.* At its first settlement, and previous to the 
fires that have since destroyed so much valuable tim- 
ber, the island was altogether covered with wood, and 
contained forests of majestic pines. Trees of this 
genus still abound, but not, as formerly, in extensive 
groves. The varieties are the red and pitch pine, 
which are rare, and the yellow or white pine, which is 
more abundant; and being well adapted for house- 
building and joiner-work, has for many years formed 
an important article of export to Britain. There is 
not however, at present, more growing on the island 
than will be required by the inhabitants for house- 
building, ship-building, and other purposes. There 
are four varieties of the spruce fir growing in abun- 
dance: this wood is durable, and adapted to various 
uses. Larch (or hackmatack) is scarce, and seldom 
more than a foot and a half in diameter, but the 
quality is valuable for treenails, and other purposes to 
ship-builders. The hemlock tree is of the fir tribe ; 
there are two descriptions of it, the red and the 
white; the latter is very durable, and lately used in 
ship-building.f It generally grows in groves, in dry 

• Sir Alexander Mao Kenzie observes the same circumstance 
on the banks of the Slave Lake, where the land, covered with 
spruce and birch having been laid waste by fire, produced subse- 
quently nothing but poplars, though there was previously no tree 
of that genus in the space laid open by the devouring element. 

f It is remarkable, that iron driven into hemlock will not 
corrode, even under water. 


hollows, and is often from two to three feet in diameter, 
and from fifty to seventy feet in height. 

Beech abounds in all parts of the island, growing 
to a majestic height, and sometimes three feet in 
diameter. It is useful for the purposes to which it is 
usually applied in England. 

Five varieties of the sugar maple are met with ; 
the white, which does not arrive at so large a size as 
the others, the waved maple or zebra wood, the red 
maple, the rock or curly maple, and the bird-eyed 
maple; the four last grow from forty to sixty feet 
in height, and from eighteen to thirty-six inches in 
diameter; all of which take a beautiful polish, and 
are used for various articles of furniture, as well as 
other purposes. From the sap of the maple tree an 
excellent sugar is made. 

There are three descriptions of birch growing in 
great abundance, the white, yellow, and black ; the 
last is particularly valuable for furniture, and other 
uses. It is frequently from three to four feet in dia- 
meter, and susceptible of as fine a polish as mahogany, 
and equally as beautiful. 

Oak is scarce, and the quality indifferent; there 
are two varieties, the red and white. 

Elm is also scarce, but the description is excellent. 
Of ash there are three varieties, the black, grey, and 
white; the two first are scarcely of any use, the last is 
made into oars, handspikes, staves, &c. 

Poplar, of which there are two varieties, grows in 
low ground, or where the original wood has been re- 


moved. White cedar abounds in the north and west 
parts of the island, but not of a size large enough for 
house or ship- building.. Such are the principal kinds 
of trees growing on the island. A number of others 
of a less description are met with, but as they are sel- 
dom used for any purpose, they are as seldom noticed. 
Among these, are the alder, wild cherry tree, Indian 
pear tree, dogwood, &c. 

Among the many varieties of wild fruits are cran- 
berries, which are uncommonly fine, and as large as an 
English cherry, strawberries, and raspberries, which 
grow in astonishing abundance; also blue berries, white 
berries, and indian pears, all of which are of the most 
delicious flavour. Black and red currants, gooseber- 
ries, and two descriptions of cherries grow wild; they 
are however very inferior. Juniper berries are abun- 

The beech tree produces heavy crops of beech 
mast, or, nuts, which are pleasant to the taste, and on 
which squirrels, partridges, and mice live, principally 
during autumn and winter. Hazel nuts grow wild. 

The bay berry grows on a shrub, (the Myrica 
Cerifira of Linnaeus) and contains a'quantity of inflam- 
mable odoriferous matter, of a light green colour, re- 
sembling wax. This substance is extracted by boiling 
a quantity of the berries in water, which is afterwards 
strained into a dish, and on being left to cool, the 
wax hardens on the surface. It makes candles scarcely 
inferior to spermaceti. 


Sarsaparilla, ginseng, and a number of medicinal 
herbs, grow among the woods, where the cariosity of 
the botanist would have ample range. A variety of 
herbs and roots are used by the inhabitants, instead of 
tea. The Indian tea, or Labrador shrub, is grateful 
to the taste, and considered an effectual antiscorbutic. 
The vine, called maiden hair tea, has a simple agree- 
able taste ; and a decoction of a root, called chocolate 
root, i$ used by the indiaris as a certain remedy for the 
severest attack of the cholic. 



Wild animals .... Birds .. . .Reptiles . . . .Insects . . . .Fishes. 

Thb principal native quadrupeds are bears, loup- 
cerviers, foxes, hares, martins, otters, masquathes, 
minks and squirrels. 

The bear is of a jet black colour, and of the same 
species as on the continent of America. For many 
years after the settlement of the colony, these animals 
were extremely mischievous and hurtful to the in- 
habitants, destroying black cattle, sheep, and hogs. 
Their numbers are now much reduced, and a bear is 
rarely met with. During winter, they retire to some 
sequestered part of the forest, and select a den, 
which they prepare by closing it nearly over with 
branches and sticks, and making a bed within it of 
moss. t>uring three or four months, they live in these 
dens without food, and, according to the accounts of 
the indians and others who sometimes discover them, 
in a state of torpor, from which however they are easily 

It seems extraordinary, that a bear on leaving his den 
is nearly as fat as at any period of the year. The vulgar, 
but absurd, belief is, that they live during winter 
by sucking their paws. Although bears are carnivor- 
ous animals, they feed indiscriminately on berries, or 


any thing In shape of food. They are particularly fond 
of ant hills, and are dexterous in catching smelts, a 
species of small. fish that swarm in the brooks. A great 
deal is related about the sagacity of bears, and there 
appears to be but few animals which possess a htglier 
degree of instinct 

Their strength and dexterity are astonishing, and 
the largest and most spirited bull is soon vanquished 
and killed by a full grown bear. They seldom attack a 
horse, and unless provoked, will rarely encounter, a 
man. It is said, that a bear on hearing the human voice 
will always run off, unless accompanied by its young. 
They are frequently caught in strong wooden traps, 
contrived so, that a heavy log pressed down by several 
others, falls across the animal's back, and crushes it to 
death. Indians and others commonly lay in wait to 
shoot them, near the remains of some large animal 
killed by a bear the preceding night, to which it 
generally returns either to devour it or carry it off. 
Spring guns are sometimes set with a but, which, as 
soon as the bear lays hold of, fires the gun. If a bear 
'kill or catch a calf, sheep or pig, it carries either 
at once to some distance. Ati ox or cow seems too 
heavy a burden, and a part is devoured, where it is 
killed. The fur of the bear, if killed in season, is very 
valuable. ' 

Foxes are numerous, and seem to possess all the 
cunning usually attributed to the species. They do 
not however kill sheep, nor do they often destroy 


poultry, as they generally procure sufficient food at 
less risk in the woods, or along the shores* They are 
caught in traps, or inveigled by a bait to a particular 
place, where they are shot by a person laying in wait, 
daring the clear winter nights, at which time the ice 
and snow deprive them in a great measure of their 
usual means of subsistence. The fur is much finer 
than that of the English fox : its prevailing colour is 
red. Some foxes are jet black, others patched, and a 
few are of a beautiful silver grey colour. 

Hares ate in great abundance, and turn white in 
winter, as in Norway. Their flesh is very fine, at least 
equal to that of. the English hare. 

The marten is a beautiful animal, about eighteen 
inches long, and of a brownish colour, with a patch of 
orange under the neck. Its fur is valuable. 

The musquash, or musk rat, is a black animal, 
about twice the sure of a large rat. It has some 
resemblance to the beaver, and in winter, when the 
ponds are frozen over, they build small huts on the 
ice, with sticks, rashes, and mud. They keep a hole 
open under this lodging, for the purpose of getting into 
the water for food. 

Otters are of the same species as in Europe, but 
the fur is rather finer. 

The mink is a small black anjmal, with fine fur. Jt 
resembles the otter, and lives in the same manner. 

There are three varieties of squirrels, the striped, 
the browj, and the flying squirrels. 


Weasels and ermines, although native animals, are 
not numerous. 

Formerly, mice were in some seasons so numerous, 
as to destroy the greater part of the corn, about a week 
before it ripened. Within the last twenty years how* 
ever, little injury has been done by these mischievous 
animals, although they have been known to appear 
in such swarms, previously to that period, as to eut 
down whole fields of wheat in one night. 

Bats, of an inferior size, are common in summer. 

The loup-cervier, commonly called the wild cat, 
Is of the genus felinum, and nearly the height of a grey 
hound. It has scarcely any tail, and is of a grey 
colour; the fur is not very valuable. These animals 
are rather numerous, and are said to have the treach- 
erous disposition of the tiger. Numbers of sheep are 
destroyed by them; and one will kill .several of those 
unresisting creatures during a night, as they suck the 
blood only, leaving the flesh untouched. 

For many years after the settlement of the island, 
wftriniftes,or sea cows, frequented different places aloag 
the shores, and the numbers caught were not only 
considerable, but formed a source of advantageous 
enterprise to the inhabitants. Their tusks ' being 
from fifteen inches to two feet long, were considered 
m fin* a quality of ivory as those of the elephant, and 
their skins, about an inch in thickness, were cut into 
stripes for traces, and used in the island, or exported 
to Quebec. They also yielded a considerable quantity 
of oil, and some have weighed upwards of 4000 lbs. 


None of these animals have appeared near the shores of 
the island for thirty years, but are still seen at the 
Magdalene Islands, and other places to the northward. 
They have been known sometimes to enter some 
distance into the woods, and persons acquainted with 
the manner of killing them, have got between them 
and the sea, and urged them on with a sharp pointed 
pole, until they got the whole drove a sufficient dis- 
tance from the water, when they fell to, and killed 
these immense animals, thus incapable of resistance 
out of their element. It is said, that on being attack- 
ed in this manner, and finding themselves unable to 
escape, they have set up a most piteous howl and cry. 

Seals of the same description as on the the coasts 
of Newfoundland and Labrador are seen in the bays, 
and round the shores of the island during the summer 
and autumn. In the spring, immense numbers come 
down on the ice from the northward, when they are 
killed by the fishermen, who go in quest of them in 
schooners. It sometimes happens that there are driven 
on shore fields of ice covered with seals, which the fish- 
ermen kill with guns, or with heavy clubs, and, strip- 
ping off the skin with the fat, leave the carcase on the 
ice. The fat is melted into oil, and the skins dressed 
or tanned. 

The birds most common on the island are the fol- 
lowing, which remain during the whole year. 
Large Speckled Owl, 
Grey Owl, 




Large Redcrested Woodpecker, 

Red headed Woodpecker, 

Blue Speckled Woodpecker, 

Snow Birds, 



Red Hooded Winter Bird, 



Blue Jay, 
and those that migrate to other countries, or that dis~ 
appear during winter; among which are, 

The Bald Eagle, 

Yellow Bird, 

Brown Eagle, 

Wild Goose, 

Large Brown Hawk, 


Common Hawk, 

Wild Grey Duck, 

Musquito Hawk, 

Wild Black Duck, 


Sea Duck, 

Wild Pigeon, 




Humming Bird, 

Sea Pigeon, 











Beach Bird, 


Blue Bird, 


White Gull, 

Grey Gull, 


Spring Bird, Herring Gull, 

Robin, Bittern. 


Partridges are larger, and considered finer than in 
England. A provincial law prohibits the shooting of 
them between the 1st of April, and the 1st September. 

Wild pigeons arrive in great flocks in summer, from 
the southward, and breed in the wood. 

Wild geese appear in March) and after remaining 
five or six weeks, proceed to the northward to breed, 
from whence they return in September, and leave for 
the southward about the end of November. They 
fly in flocks, and in two regular ties, following a 
leader, from which both lines diverge* so as to Form a 
figure like the two sides of a triangle. They hatch 
their young in the northern and inland parts of New- 
foundland, and on the continent of Labrador. In 
size they are rather larger than the domestic goose, 
and many consider them much finer eating. 

The brant is about half the size of the goose. Its 
flesh is delicious. It also comes from the south, and 
proceeds to the north, for the purpose of breeding. 
These birds arrive in May, and remain till June, and 
return again in September. Both black and grey ducks 
are excellent) and the snipe is considered ty tyiiures 
equal to the finest in Europe. 

There are no game laws, nor any restrictions as 
regards shooting, nor does it appear that one can hinder 
persons from doing so, even on lands under cultiva- 
tion, unless he proceeds against them as trespassers. 


The only reptiles known in the island are brown 
and striped snakes, neither of which are venomous; 
and the red viper, toad, bull frog, and green frog. 

When the spring opens, frogs are heard on fine 
evenings, singing in various notes and tones. Some 
strain on a rough low key, others a pitch higher, and 
soofce pipe a treble, or thrill perpetually ; the combina- 
tion forming what has been termed " A frog concert. 

The principal insects are butterflies, of which there 
area number of beautiful varieties; locusts, grass- 
hoppers and crickets, the horned beetle, bug, adder-fly, 
black^fly, horse-fly sand-fly, musquito, ant, hornet, 
wasp, bumble-bee, fire-fly, and a numerous variety of 

The sting of either the wild bee, hornet, or wasp, 
occasions for some time a severe pain, accompanied by 
a slight inflammation. These industrious little animals 
display great ingenuity in the construction of their 
nests and combs. The wild bees commonly build 
their nests under ground: the wasps and hornets, 
suspend them to a branch of a tree; each build them 
of a substance, resembling when put together, light 
grey paper. 

Musqmtos and sand-flies are exceedingly annoy- 
ing during the heat of summer, in the neighbourhood 
of marshes, and in the woods: where the lands are 
cleared to any extent, they are seldom troublesome. 

During the beautiful summer nights, one observes 
in different directions, lights flashing and moving 
about; which are occasioned by fire-flies fluttering 


their wings, from under which a vivid sparkling is 

The varieties of shell-fish are, oysters, clams, 
muscles, razor shell-fish, wilkes, lobsters, crabs, and 

The oysters are considered the finest in America, 
and equally as delicious as those taken on the English 
shores* There are two or three varieties, the largest 
of which is from six to twelve inches long. 

Lobsters are very plentiful, and when in season, 

The descriptions of fish that swarm round the 
shores, or that abound on the different fishing banks 
in the vicinage of Prince Edward Island, are very 
numerous. The following are those most commonly 

Hump-back Whale, 




Horse Mackerel, 











Pond Perch, 


Sea Perch, 











The quality of the different varieties of fish may 
be considered nearly the same as that of the same 
species caught in the British Seas; some however, 
think that the cod, spring herring, and haddock, 
are, when fresh, inferior to those in the English 
market.' The herring caught in spring, at which time 
they enter the bays to spawn, are certainly not so fat, 
but those taken in autumn are equally as fine. The 
mackerel is a very delicious fish, and of much finer 
flavour than those caught on the shores of Europe. 
Salmon are not very abundant, and only frequent a 
few rivers. 

Epicures consider the eels among the very best 
description. During the summer and autumtt, the 
Indians spear them in calm nights by torch light. 
Their torches are made of the outer rind of the birch 
tree, fixed within a split made to receive the same, in 
the end of a stick about four or five feet long. When 
lighted, it is placed in the prow of the bark canoe of 
the indian, near which he stands with a toot on each 
gunnel, and in a situation so ticklish, as to require the 
tact of a master to preserve his balance, which he does 
however, with apparent ease. A boy, or sometimes 
his squaw, (wife) paddles the canoe slowly along, 
while with a spear, the handle of which is from fifteen 
to twenty feet long, lie is so dexterous and sharp 
sighted, that he never misses the fish at which he 
darts. Salmon, trout, and various other fishes, are 
taken in the same manner. 



Paring winter eels live under the mud, within 
the bays and rivers, in places where a long marine 
grass (called eel grass) grows, the roots of which, 
penetrating several inches down through the mud, 
Constitutes their food. At this season they are taken 
ip the following manner: around hole, abtfut two 
feet in diameter, is cut through the ice over ground, 
in which they are usually known to take up their 
winter quarters; and the fisherman, with a five-pronged 
spear attached to a handle from twenty-five to thirty 
feet long, then commences, by probing the mud im- 
mediately under the hole, and by going round and 
round iu this manner, extending on one circle of 
ground after another, as far as the length of the spear 
handle will allow, Qomes in contact with the eels that 
lay underneath, and brings them up on the ice ; some- 
times in the early part of winter, one sees from fifty 
to sisty persons fishing eels in this way. Trout, smelt, 
tom-cod, and perch, are caught in winter with a hook 
and line, through a hole in the ice. 




The temperature of the climate of British America, 
as well as that of the United States, is extremely 
variable, not only in regard to sudden transitions from 
hot to cold, and vice versa, but in respect to the 
difference between the climate of one colony, or one 
state, and another.* 

The following outline of the system of the natural 
climate of Prince Edward Island, is perhaps as correct 
as can be well obtained. From its laying within the 
gulf of St. Lawrence, it partakes, in some measure, of 
the climate of the neighbouring countries, but the 
difference is greater than one who has not lived in the 
island would imagine. 

In lower Canada, the winter is nearly two months 
longer than in this island, the frosts more severe, and 
the snows deeper ; while the temperature is equally 
as hot in summer. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, 
and Cape Breton, the frosts are equally as severe; the 
transitions from one extreme of temperature to another 

♦ It is said of Pennsylvania, thai it is ft compound of aft tfte 
eoantrtaft in the world. In lower Canada, the boasts dumot bo 
kept comfortable without stoves. In Prince Edward Island, a 
common English fire-place is sufficient to keep a room warm, and 
stoves are by no means general. 


more sudden, and fogs are frequent along those parts 
bordering on the Atlantic and bay of Fundy. 

The atmosphere of this island is noted for being 
free of fogs. A day that is foggy throughout seldom 
happens during the year, and in general not more 
than three or four that are partially so. A misty 
fog sometimes appears on a summer's or autumnal 
morning, occasioned by the exhalation of the dew 
that falls during night, which the rising sun dissi- 

The absence of fogs has variously been accounted 
for, but never yet from what 1 conceive the proper 
cause, and which I consider to be; in the first place, 
that the waters which wash the shores of the island 
do not come immediately in contact with those of a 
different temperature; and in the next place, from 
Cape Breton and Newfoundland, both of which are 
high and mountainous, laying as a barrier between it 
and the Atlantic. 

Those perpetual fogs which hang over the banks 
and coasts of Newfoundland and Cape Breton, are 
caused by the meeting of the tropical waters, brought 
along by the gulf stream, with the waters carried down 
by the influence of the winds from the Polar regions. 
These come in contact with each other on the banks 
of Newfoundland, and form those eternal fogs, by the 
difference of their temperatures, and that of their 
atmospheres producing the two effects of condensation 
and evaporation. Strong easterly winds would oc- 
casionally drive these fogs up the gulf of St. Lawrence, 


as far as Prince Edward Island, were they not arrested 
in their course by the highlands of Newfoundland and 
Cape Breton, on which they are condensed. 

Fogs, it is true, are occasionally met with at the 
entrance of the river Saint Lawrence, and from a 
cause precisely similar to the other. It is well known 
thatastrongcurrent of cold waterruns from the Atlantic, 
through the strait of Belle Isle. Its principal stream 
. passes between the island of Anticosti and the coast 
of Labrador; and coming in contact with the stream 
.of the Saint Lawrence, the effect is similar, and fogs 
are produced. 

Prince Edward Island lays within the deep bay 
formed between Cape Rosier and the north Cape of 
Cape Breton, and the waters that surround it do not 
mix within many miles of its shores with those of the 

In America the seasons have generally, though 
erroneously, been reduced to two, summer and winter. 
. The space between winter and summer is indeed too 
short to claim the appellation of spring, in the sense 
it is understood in England ; but the duration of 
autumn is as long as in countries under the same 
latitude in Europe, and is in Prince Edward Island, as 
well as over the whole continent of North America, 
the most agreeable season of the year. 

The summer season may be said to commence 

about the last days of April, or as soon as the ice 

. disappears in the bays and the rivers. In May, the 

weather is generally dry and pleasant, but it rarely 


happens that summer becomes firmly established with- 
out a few cold days occurring, after the first warm 
weather. This change is occasioned by the winds 
shifting from south to north, or to north east, which 
bring down the gulf large fields of ice that are by this 
time disengaged from the shores of Labrador, and which 
carry along also the cold evaporations that arise in the 
hyperborean regions. This interruption seldom lasts 
for more than three or four days, daring which the 
weather is either dry and raw, or cold and wet. 

When the wind shifts to the southward, the tem- 
perature soon changes, as the cold vajjors are either 
driven back, or dissipated by the heat of the sun, 
which now becomes powerful. The southerly winds, 
as it were, combat and overcome those of the north, 
and restoring warmth to the air, fine weather becomes 
permanent. All the birds common in summer mftke 
thtir appearance early in May, and enliven the woods 
with their melody; while the frogs, those American 
nightingales, or as they are often called, bog choristers, 
strain their evening concerts. Vegetation proceeds 
with surprising quickness ; wheat and oats are sown ; 
the fields and deciduous trees assume their verdure ; 
various indigenous and exotic flowers blow j and the 
smiling face of nature is truly delightful and in grate- 
ful unison with the most agreeable associations. 

In June, July, and August, the weather is ex- 
cessively hot, sometimes as hot as in the West Indies, 
the mercury being 80° to 90° Fahrenheit. Showers 
from the south west, sometimes accompanied with 


thunder and lightning, occur during these months, 
about once every week, or in every ten days time, which 
generally shift the wind to the north west, and pro- 
duce for a short time an agreeable coolness. 

The nights at this season exceed in splendour the 
moit beautiful ones in Europe. To pourtray them 
with accurate justness, would require more than any 
language could accomplish, or any pencil but that 
of imagination could execute. The air, notwithstand 
iog the heat of the preceding day, is always pure ; the 
sea generally unruffled, and its surface one vast mirror, 
reflecting with precision every visual object, either in 
the heavens or on the earth* The moon shines with a 
soft> silver-like brilliancy, and during her retirement 
the stars resume the most splendid effulgence. Fishes 
of various species, sport on the water. The singular 
note of whip-poor-will is heard from the woods : the fire 
fly flo*t* o» the air, oscillating its vivid sparks; and 
where the band of man has subdued the forest, and laid 
the ground under the control of husbandry, may he 
heard the voice of the milk-maid, or the "Drowsy 
tinkling* of the distant fold." In another direction 
may often be seen the light of the birch torch, which 
the mick mack Indian uses in the prow of his canoe, 
while engaged with his spear in fishing. 

In September the weather is extremely pleasant, 
the days are very warm until after the middle of the 
ninths but the evenings are agreeably cool, followed 
by dews at night, and about, but generally after the 


autumnal equinox, the severity of the season is inter- 
cepted by high winds and rains. At this period the 
winds generally blow from some easterly point, and 
the weather usually clears up, with the wind from an 
opposite direction. 

The season from this time until the middle or lat- 
ter part of October is generally a continuation of 
pleasant days, moderately warm at noon, and the 
mornings and evenings cool, attended sometimes with \ 
slight frosts at nights. Rain occurs but seldom, and 
the temperature is perhaps more agreeable at this 
time than at any other period, being neither unpleasantly 
hot nor cold. About the end of this month, the 
northerly winds begin to acquire some ascendency 
over rhe power of the south, and there appears in the 
atmosphere a determination to establish cold weather, 
and to accomplish a general change of temperature. 

Rains, sunshine, evaporations, and slight frosts, 
succeed each other, and the leaves of the forest from 
this period change their verdure into the most brilliant 
and rich colours, exhibiting the finest tints and shades 
of red, yellow, and sap-green, blended with violet, 
purple, and brown. The peculiar charms and splend- 
our which this change imparts to American scenery, 
exhibits one of the richest landscapes in nature, and 
never could the pencil of an artist be engaged in a 
more interesting subject. 

After this crisis the air becomes colder, but the 
sky continues clear; and a number of fine days usually 


appear in November. — There are frosts at night, 
but the sun is warm 1 in the middle of the day; the 
evenings and mornings are pleasant, but cool, and 
a fire becomes agreeable. This period is termed all 
over America the Indian summer, and is always looked 
for and depended on, as the time to make preparations 
for the winter season. 

About the end of November, or a little after, the 
frosts become more severe, and the northerly winds 
more prevalent. The sky however is clear, and the 
weather dry, with the exception of a rainy day once 
in a week, or in every ten days' time; This month, 
and often the whole of December, pass away before 
severe frosts or snows become permanent; which the 
old inhabitants say, never takes place, until the differ- 
ent ponds or small lakes are filled with water* by the 
alternate frosts, thaws, and rains that Occur, or until 
a little after the wild geese depart to the south. 

Towards the end of December, or the beginning 
of January, the winter season becomes firmly establish- 
ed; the bays and rivers are frozen over, and the 
groundcovered to the depth of afoot or more with snow. 
The frost is extremely keen during the months of Jan- 
uary, February* and the early part of March; the 
Mercury being frequently several degres below zero. A 
thaw and mild weather generally occur for a day or two, 
about the middle of January, and sometimes in Febru- 
ary. Thaws take place whenever the wind shifts for 
any time to the south, and the weather that immedi- 



ately succeeds is always extremely cold. The ice 
then becomes as smooth as glass, and affords a source 
of diversion to such as are amateurs in the amusement 
of skating. 

The deepest snows fall towards the latter part of 
February, or the beginning of March; at which time 
boisterous storms sweep the snow furiously along the 
surface of the earth, leaving some places nearly bare, 
and raising immense banks in others. While these 
last, it may be imprudent to travel, at least on the ice, 
or over tracts where there is no wood, as it is impos- 
sible to see any distance through the drift. The du- 
ration of these storms however, is seldom longer than 
one or two days, and then the frost is by no means so 
severe as when the sky is clear. 

A phenomenon appears frequently during winter, 
known here by the appellation of Silver Frost. When 
a fine misty rain takes place, with the wind at the east 
or north east, the frost not being sufficiently keen to 
congeal the rain until it falls, but at the moment it 
rests on any substance, it adheres and freezes, incrust- 
ing every tree, shrub, and whatever else is exposed to 
the weather with ice. The forest assumes in conse- 
quence, the most magnificent splendour, and continues 
in this state until it thaws, or until the icy shell is 
shaken off by the winds. The woods, while in this 
state, especially if the sun shine, exhibit the most 
brilliant appearance. Every tree is loaded as with a 
natuial production of silver spangles, and there is not 
probably any thing in the appearance of nature, that 


would more effectually baffle the powers of a landscape 
painter. \ 

The vernal equinox commonly brings on strong 
gales from the south, accompanied by a mighty thaw, 
which dissolves all the snow on the cleared lands, and 
weakens the ice so much, that it now opens where 
there are strong currents. Clear weather, with sharp 
frosts at night, and sunshine during the day gene- 
rally succeeds, and continues to the end of March, or 
the first week in April, when a snow storm frequently 
comes on, and severe and disagreeable weather lasts 
for two or three days; this is the last effort of expiring 
winter, and is immediately followed by a warmth of 
temperature, which breaks up the ice, and dissolves 
the snows. The heat of the sun, now become power- 
ful, dries up the ground in a few days; after which, 
ploughing begins, and the summer season commences. 

Although this outline of the general system of 
the climate is as near the truth as can be stated, yet 
the weather is often different at the same period in one 
year, from that of another. This difference arises 
chiefly from the winter season setting in earlier or 
later, and the same may be observed as regards the 
commencement of summer. Thus, the winter has 
been known to set in with unusual severity in the 
beginning of December, and sometimes not until 
the middle of January. In some winters, thaws 
occur oftener than in others, and deeper snows are 
known in one season, than for some years before. 
The ice breaks up one year as early as the first of 


April, and it has been known strong enough on the 
first of May, opposite Charlotte Town, to bear a man 
across the Hilsborough. 

It cannot however, with all those variations of cli- 
mate, be said with propriety, that the duration of 
winter is more than four months; many prefer the 
winter to the same season in England, and taking the 
year throughout, give a preference to the climate. 
Though the cold is intense for nine or ten weeks, the 
stir is dry and elastic, and free from the chilling 
moisture of a British winter. 

It is maintained by some writers, that the air and 
earth undergo a considerable alteration of temperature 
when the land is cleared of the wood; first, from the 
ground being exposed to the sun's rays, which cause 
the waters to evaporate more copiously ; secondly, by 
lessening the quantity and duration of snow; and 
thirdly, by introducing warm winds through the 
openings made. From the observations of old people 
who have lived fifty or sixty years in America, as well 
as from the writings of those who visited the new Con- 
tinent many years ago, there is no doubt but the 
climate has becpque much milder, and that the dura^ 
tion of winter is much shorter. Whether this may be 
attributed to clearing the lands of the woods, or to 
some unknown progress going forward in the system 
of nature, will always remain doubtful.* 

•That enterprising traveller, Sir Alexander M'Kenzie, con- 
sidered tfeat clearing tbe tends of rood occasioned no very geosiblt 
diminution of col <i. 


That brilliant pbeaojnenon, Aurora BoreaUs, ap- 
pears at all seasons, and in various forms. At one 
time faintly, in distant rays of light, at another it 
assumes the appearances of bright floating standards, 
but more frequently, in the form of a broad crescent 
of light with its extremities touching the horizon, and 
the inner line strongly marked; the space within 
iit being much darker than any other part of the 
heavens. Its brilliancy in this form is truly beautiful ; 
and after retaining this appearance a short time, it 
generally transforms into magnificent columns of light 
which move majestically from the horizon towards the 
zenith, until after having lighted the firmament with 
the most luminous colours, it suddenly vanishes ; but 
soon re- appears and again vanishes, and so continues 
to fade, re-appear, and change infinitely, until its 
brilliancy intermingles and fills the atmosphere, and 
then insensibly disappears altogether.* 

The winds within the gulf of St. Lawrence, as in 
other parts pf North America, vary frequently, and 
blow at all seasons from every point of the compass* No 
wind however is so rare as a due north ope ; a due south 
wind is also rare, but more frequent than its opposite. 
Cold sharp and dry winds blow from the north west, 
and occasionally from the west, and sometimes bring 
on light showers of snow in the beginning of winter. 

* Although the appearance of Aurora Borealis is in Prince 
Edward Island, fully equal to this description, I have seen it ap- 
pear in a still more luminous and magnificent style in Labrador 
and Lower Canida. 


Winds from the north-east, and east, bring on snow 
storms in winter, sleet and wet weather in spring, and 
heavy rains in summer and autumn. Thaws take 
place in winter, with a south easterly wind, after which 
the wind shifts to the north west, the sky clears up, 
and severe frosts follow. South west winds, inclining 
sometimes a point or two southward, or westward, 
prevail through the summer and autumn : this wind 
is always warm, and usually springs up and blows 
fresh about noon, and calms off towards evening. 
Westerly winds incline in summer to the south, and 
towards the north in winter, and are through the whole 
year more frequent than any other wind. 

The phenomenon of thunder and lightning is ac- 
companied in America with a more splendid (though 
terrific) sublimity than is known in England. The 
lightning is at one time observed to flash from one 
end of a cloud to another. It then appears like a 
stream of liquid fire, or darts in zigzag serpentine 
shapes. Thunder storms seldom last above two hours, 
and accidents are rare during their continuance. 

As regards the salubrity of this climate, it is agreed 
on by all who have lived any time on the island, and 
who have compared it to that of other countries, that 
there are few places where health is enjoyed with less 
interruption. What Mr. Stewart in his excellent 
account of Prince Edward Island (now. rarely met 
with) says, is I consider, in strict concordance with 
the truth. " The fevers and other diseases of the 
United States are unknown here ; no person ever saw 


an intermittent fever produced on the island, nor 
will that complaint when brought here ever stand 
above a few days, against the influence of the climate. 
I have seen thirty Hessian soldiers who brought this 
complaint from the southward, and who were so much 
reduced thereby, as to be carried on shore in blankets, 
all recover in a very short time; few of them had any 
return or fit of the complaint, after the first forty-eight 
hours from their landing on the island." 

" Pulmonary consumptions, which are so common, 
and so very destructive in the northern and central 
states of America, are not often met with here; prob- 
ably ten cases of this complaint have not occurred 
since the settlement of the colony. Colds and rheu- 
matisms are the most common complaints, the first 
generally affect the head more than the breast, and the 
last seldom proves mortal. A very large proportion of 
the people live to old age, and then die of no acute 
disease, but by the gradual decay of nature." 

" Deaths between twenty and fifty years of age 
are but few, when compared with most other coun- 
tries ; and I trust 1 do not exaggerate the fact, when 
I state, that not one person in a hundred, (all acci- 
dents included) dies in a year. It follows from what 
has been said, that mankind must increase very fast 
in such a climate; accordingly large families are 
almost universal." — "Industry will always secure a 
comfortable existence, which encourages early mar- 
riages: the women are often grandmothers at forty, 

4$ FAfttCE Et)WAtl> INLAND. 

and the mother and daughter may frequently be seen 
with each a- child at therr breast, at the same time."* 
Volney, speaking of the climate of the United 
States, says : « Autumnal' intermittent fevers, or 
quotidian agues, tertian, quartan, &c. constitute 
another class* of diseases that prevails in the United 
States, to a degree of ftMeh no idea cotrid he con- 
ceived.. They are particularly endemic in places re- 
cently cleared, in valleys on tfre borders of waters, either 
running or stagnant, nearponds, lakes, mills, dams, mar- 
shes, &c. Thtfse autumnal fevers are not directly fatal, 
but they gradually undermine the constitution, and very 
sensibly shorten life. Other travellers have observed 
before me, that in South Carolina for instance, a per- 
son is as old at fifty, as an Europe** at sixty-fire or 
seventy; and 1 have heard all the Englishmen with: 
whom I was acquainted in* the United States, say, that 
their frien<te who have been settled a few years in the 
southern, or central state, appear to them- to grow 1 
as old again as they woufd have done in England or 
Scotland. If these fevers fix on a person* at the 
end* of October^ they will not quR him the whole 
winter,, but reduce him to a state of deplorable languor 
and weakness. Lower Canada, and the cold 1 countries 
adjacent, are scarcely at all siAJeet to them." The only 
fever, excepting such as usually accompany severe 
colds, that has hitherto as far as I- have been* able to* 

*Aocoimtof Prince Edward Island, by John Stewart, ISsq* 
late paymaster, St John's, Newfoundland. London, 1800. 


trace, made its appearance in a fatal form; among 
the inhabitants is typhus, and I have been 'told by 
the best informed people, that it , has always been' 
brought to the country from the neighbouring provin*. 
ces. It is not, however, dangerous, unless it be among, 
the very lowest classes, who pay no regard to clean*; 
liness and diet, and it seldom proves fatal, even to. 
them. This fever is by no means so alarming » as it 
is in Europe, it appearing always as Typhus Mitior r 
and not in the form of Typhus Grantor. I have heard, 
it said, that Erysipelas has been known, but not in « 
a dangerous shape ; the instances must have been 
very rare. 

What M. Volney observes regarding premature 
old age among the inhabitants of the southern, states: 
is but too true, as well as what he says about another 
disease— defluxion of the gums and rotten teeth, com- 
mon in those countries.* 

I have not observed, either in this island or in 
the neighbouring provinces, what might be set down 
as marks of premature old age ; and I believe, that 

• On my passage down the St. Lawrence in 1324, from Montreal 
-to Quebec, in one of the large steam boats on that river, I met with 
several families from the southern states, who had travelled north to 
visit the Canadas, and to avoid the excessive summer heat of Pennsyl- 
vania and Carolina. Among the whole, I did not observe any who 
possessed the bloom and florid complexion so common in the United 
Kingdoms/ I would willingly have excepted a young lady whose figure 
was extremely graceful and elegaut, and whose features were beautiful. 
In England I would have said her age was twenty-four years. I was 
to\d, and believe it, that she? was not eighteen. 


40 pmrnfOE edwabd island. 

i» no country do the inhabitants retain their faculties*.' 
or health and strength longer ; yet there it no doubt 
hot young peopie arrive at maturity earlier here that* 
in England, mm& generally speaking, lose the colour 
and bloom of youth sooner. I think too, that al- 
though it cannot be by any means considered a 
prevailing disease, that decayed teeth are more com* 
moo than in Britain. Bilious complaints are un- 
known. I have conversed with numbers, who were 
for many years afflicted with ill health previous to 
their settling in this country, and who afterwards 
enjoyed all the advantages «tf an unimpaired con* 
stitution. • / 

The absence of damp weather and fogs, (at all 
times certain generators of disease), and the island 
being surrounded by the sea, and having no lakes, 
or few ponds of freshwater, will, together, account 
satisfactorily for the excellence of its climate. 




The excellence of its soil, its climate, and general 
configuration of its surface, adapt the lands of this 
colony more particularly to agricultural pursuits, than 
to any other purpose. 

Wheat is raised in abundance for the consumption 
of the inhabitants, and has been frequently exported 
to Nova Scotia. It is generally sown early in May, 
and reaped in September, and with tolerable care in 
cultivation and cleaning, will weigh from sixty to 
sixty-five pounds. With more attention, vast quanti- 
ties might be raised and manufactured into flour for 
the West India market. Winter wheat has been 
found to answer well, but the inhabitants seem careless 
about its cultivation, as long as they can raise enough 
from what is sown in spring to meet their wants. 
Barley and oats thrive well, and yield heavy crops, 
and afre in weight and quality equal to any met with 
in the English market, and superior to what are pro- 
duced in the United States. 

Both summer and winter rye produce weighty 
crops, and are not liable to casual failures. The cul- 
tivation of this grain is not however much attended to. 

Buck wheat will grow and ripen well, but there 
is scarcely any raised. 


Beans always produce a certain and plentiful re- 
turn, although not cultivated to any extent. 

Pease sometimes yield fair returns, but do not, at 
least under the present mode of cultivation, seem to 
produce regular and sure crops, being liable to injury 
from worms. 

Turnips are also subject to have the leaves eaten 
by worms or flies, although heavy crops are frequently 

In no country do parsnips, beets, and mangel 
wurzel prosper better. 

Indian corn or maize is sometimes planted, but 
does not thrive by any means as well as in the United 
States, nor do 1 consider it congenial to the soil. 

Potatoes of a kind and quality equal to the pro- 
duce of any country are raised in great quantities, and 
are exported to the neighbouring provinces, and some- 
times to the West Indies. 

Flax is raised of an excellent quality, and manufac- 
tured by the farmers into linen for domestic use. 
This article might be cultivated extensively for expor- 

Hemp will grow, but not to the same perfection 
as in Upper Canada. 

Cucumbers, sallads, cabbages, cauliflowers, aspara- 
gus, and indeed all the culinary vegetables common in 
England arrive at great perfection. 

Cherries, plums, damsons, black, red and white 
currants ripen well, and are large and delicious. 

Gooseberries succeed, but not always, probably 
from bad management. 


. Although there are but few apples raised, and the 
greater part of what are, being of an inferior quality, 
from want of due care in rearing the trees ; there is 
no doubt, but with proper attention, as fine apples as 
any in North America can be produced. 1 have seen 
somje fine samples raised near Charlotte Town, by 
Mr. Dockendoff, a respectable farmer. Some of the 
apple trees planted by the French, previous to the 
conquest of the island in 1/58, are still bearing fruit. 

As there frequently happen a few days of cold and 
wet weather in the latter end of April, or in the first 
week in May, wheat and oats are seldom sown before 
the first of the latter month. Barley will ripen if sown 
before the last of June, although it is generally sown 
earlier; potatoes are planted about the last days of May, 
or before the middle of June, and often later. Turnip 
seed is sown about the middle of July; some prefer 
doing so about the first of August, in which case the 
leaves are not so liable to injury from flies or worms. 

Gardening commences early in May, and generally 
combines together the different departments of fruit, 
flowers, and vegetables. 

The principal grasses are, timothy, red and white 
clover, and a kind of soft indigenous upland grass, of 
which sheep are very fond; also marsh grasses, on 
which young and dry cattle are fed during the winter 

Haymaking commences in the latter end of July, 
and as the weather is commonly very dry at this season, 
it is attended with little trouble in curing. It is 


sometimes put away under cover; but oftener mad' 
up into stacks or ricks. Experienced farmers say tha 
the common run of old settlers in the island dry their 
hay too much before they stack it. Barley is reaped in 
August; there are two varieties, five-rowed and two 
rowed ears. The wheat and oats harvest commences 
sometimes before, but generally after the first of 
September ; some use a cradle for cutting their grain, 
and afterwards make it up in sheaves and stacks. 
The common way is to reap and lay it up in sheaves, 
and then stack and gather it in the same manner as 
in England. 

Potatoes and turnips are left undug until the mid- 
dle or end of October ; the first are generally ploughed 
up, except in new land where the hoe is altogether 
used. Parsnips may remain in the ground during the 
winter, and are finer when dug up in the spring than 
at any other period. 

Milch cows, and such horses and cattle as require 
more care than others, are housed in November; but 
December is the usual month for housing cattle 
regularly; sheep will do better by being left out all the 
winter, but they require to be fed, and it is well to have 
a place where they may have some shelter from the 
wind without being covered over. 

Black cattle are in general smaller than in England ; 
a good ox will weigh from eight to nine hundred 
pounds, but the common run will not exceed six or 
seven hundred. The beef is usually very fine and 


Sheep thrive well, but very little attention is ofaH 
served in improving the breed. The present Attor- 
ney General, Mr. Johnston, has on his excellent 
farm near Charlotte Town/ a number of sheep equal 
to an; in England, and the quantity of wool one of 
them produces is more than double the weight yielded 
by the Common breed. The mutton brought to 
market is, however, usually fat and well flavoured. 

Swine seem to do as well here as in any country, 
and the pork brought in from the country is often 
equal to that met with in the Irish market ; but from 
want of due regard to rearing and breeding pigs, 
one-half the number on the island are tall long- 
snouted animal*, resembling greyhounds nearly as 
much as they do the better kind of hogs. 

The horses are, with few exceptions, small, but t 
capable of performing long journeys, and enduring 
great fatigue with much spirit. During summer it 
is usual to take them off the grass, and to ride them ' 
thirty or forty miles without feeding, frequently 
through bad roads, and afterwards to turn them out 
to feed on the grass during the night, while little 
seruple is made to ride them back the same road the 
next day :* all of which is generally performed with- 
out apparent injury to the animal. The old Canadian 
or French breed are the hardiest horses, and seem 
formed for the severe usage they undergo; their 
owners come several times during winter, twenty or 
thirty miles, to Charlotte Town, and leave them tied, 
without food, to a post or fence/and ride them home 
the tame night without feeding. I have been told 


by an old Aeadian Frenchman, that for several years 
after the island was taken, a vast number, of horses 
were running in ,a wild, state about the east point of 
the island. Such horses as are.takqrii good care of, 
and. have been well trained, make very agreeable 
saddle or carriage horses. 

The greater number of farmers onrthe island, par- 
ticularly the Scotch Highlanders, keep; by far too 
many cattle for the quantity of provender tbeymsually 
ly have to carry them through the.. winter. • They 
think if they can manage this, it wilLbe doing well ; 
but the consequence is, that their cattle, .especially 
milch-cows, are in bad condition. ia the spring, and 
it often requires a month or two of summer before 
they are in tolerable order. Until milch-cows are 
prevented from ranging at large, (as almost all the 
cattle are allowed to do) and until they are better 
fed during winter, one-half the quantity of butter 
and cheese that might, will not be made on the 
island. Those who keep their cows within fences 
are sensible of this ; but nothing but time, and the 
lands being enclosed, will do away with the preju- 
dices of the old settlers, as regards this as well as 
other customs and habits, 

The common plan of laying out farms is in lots 
containing one hundred acres each, having a front of 
ten chains either on the sea shore, or on a bay, river, 
creek, or road, and running one hundred chains back. 
It is extremely interesting to observe the . progress a 
new settler makes in clearing and cultivating a wood 
farm. The first object is to cut ddwn the trees which 


is done by cutting with an axe a notch into each side 
of the tree, about two feet above the ground, and 
rather more than half through on the side it is intended 
the tree should fall. The lower sides of these notches 
are horizontal, the upper make angles of about 60° 
with the ground. The trees are all felled in the same 
direction, and after lopping off the principal branches 
cut into twelve or fifteen feet lengths. The whole is 
left in this state until the proper season for burning 
arrives, generally in May, when it is set on fire, 
which consumes all the branches and small wood. 
The large logs are then either piled in heaps and 
burnt, or rolled away for fencing stuff: some use 
oxen to haul them off. The surface of the ground 
after burning the wood on it, is quite black and char- 
red ; and if it be intended for grain, it is now sown 
without further preparation or tillage, other than 
covering the seed with a hoe. By some a triangular 
harrow drawn by oxen is used in preference to the 
hoe, and to save labor. Others break up the earth 
with a one-handled plough, with the share and coulter 
locked into each other, and drawn also by oxen ; a 
man attending with an axe to cut the roots. Little 
regard Is paid to making straight furrows, the object 
being no more than to work the ground, that the 
grain may the more easily be covered. 

Potatoes are planted in round hollows, scooped 

three or four inches deep, and fifteen to twenty inches 

broad ; three or five sets are planted in each of these 

and covered over; the hoe alone is used; with such 



preparation a plentiful crop of grain or potatoes is 
raised, the first, second, and often the third year, with- 
out manure. Wheat is usually sown the second 
year after potatoes, without any tillage, except har- 
rowing or raking the seed in. Along with this 
second crop, Timothy or Clover-seed is sown by all 
prudent farmers, after which they leave the land under 
grass until the stumps can be easily got out. Clear- 
ing and bringing in new land in the same manner 
each year, until they have a sufficient quantity in- 
closed. The roots of the spruce, beech, birch, and 
maple, will decay sufficiently for taking out the 
stumps in four or five years. The decay of pine and 
hemlock requires a much longer time. After the 
stumps are removed, the plough is used, and the 
same system of husbandry is followed as is most ap- 
proved of in Great Britain. Great and serious injury 
to the country, and loss to individuals, have been 
caused by allowing fires to spread through the woods : 
whole forests on thousands of acres have been in this 
manner destroyed; and the land by remaining un- 
cultivated is impoverished by heavy crops of tall 
herbs, (called fire weeds,) with white, yellow, and 
lilac flowers, which spring up the first and second 
years after the woods are burnt, and exhaust the soil 
more than two crops of wheat would. Wild raspber- 
ries and bramble bushes spring up also and cover the 
ground, after the second and third years, as well as 
young birches and other trees. These fires present at 
times the most sublime and grand, though terrific 


and destructive appearance. The flames are seen 
rushing up the tops of the trees, and ascending an 
immense height among the tremendous clouds of 
black smoke, arising from a whole forest on fire J the 
falling trees come down every moment with a tre- 
mendous crash, while the sparks are flying and crack- 
ling, and the flames extending to every combustible 
substance, until it be quenched by rain, or until it 
has devoured every thing between it and the cleared 
lands, the sea, or some river. 

When the soil is exhausted by cropping, various 
manures may be procured and applied ; stable dung 
has hitherto been the principal kind used, but it must 
be acknowledged, that the general system of culti- 
vating the forms all over the island is so careless and 
slovenly, that it appears astonishing that many of the 
settlers raise a sufficiency to support their families. 
Composts are rarely known, and different manures 
that would fertilize the soil are also disregarded. In 
many of the bays, rivers, and creeks, several banks of 
muscle mud abound, which consist of muscles, shells, 
and mud, composed of decayed substances; these 
form an extremely rich manure, containing about 45 
parts of the carbonate of lime, and known by ex* 
perience to impart fertility for ten or twelve years to 
the soil. Sea-weed, which is thrown on the shores in 
great quantities, especially on the north side of the 
island, is another excellent manure, particularly for 
barley; and even the common mud which abounds 
in the creeks may be applied to advantage. It is 


pleasing, however, to observe, that a better mode of 
cultivating the soil, and a superior system of manage- 
ment have begun among the farmers : this arises from 
the force of example, set by an acquisition of indus- 
trious and careful settlers from Yorkshire, in England, 
and from Dumfrieshire and Perthshire, in Scotland. 

The habitations which the settlers first erect are in 
imitation of the dwelling of an American backwoods- 
man, and constructed in the rudest manner. Round 
logs from fifteen to twenty feet long, without the least 
dressing, are laid horizontal, over each other, and 
notched at the corners, so as to let them down suffici- 
ently close ; one is first laid to begin the walls of each 
side, then one at each end, all crossing each other at 
the corners, and so on until the wall is raised six or 
seven feet. The seams are closed up with moss or 
clay, three or four rafters are then raised for the roof, 
which is covered with the rinds of birch or fir trees, 
and thatched either with spruce branches or long 
marine grass, that is found washed up along the 
shores. Poles are laid over this thatch, together with 
birch wythes to keep the whole secure. The chimney 
is formed of a wooden frame work, placed on a slight 
foundation of stone, roughly raised a few feet above 
the ground. This frame-work goes out through the 
roof, and its sides are closed with clay, and a small 
quantity of straw kneaded together. A space large 
enough for a door, and another for a window is cut 
through the walls ; under the centre of the cottage a 
square pit or cellar is dug, for the purpose of preserv- 


ing potatoes, and other vegetables during winter; 
over this a floor of boards, or logs hewn flat on the 
upper side, is laid, and another over-head to form a 
sort of garret. When the door is hung, a window 
sash, with six, nine, or twelve panes is fixed, and one, 
two, or three bed places are put up, the habitation is 
then considered ready to receive the new settler and 
his family ; and although it has certainly nothing that 
is handsome, or even attractive in its appearance, 
unless it be its rudeness, yet it is by no means an un- 
comfortable dwelling, when compared with those of 
the poorer peasantry in some parts of Scotland and 
Ireland. In a few years, however, a much better 
house is built with two or more rooms, by the indus- 
trious, sober, and persevering settler. 

The principal disadvantage connected with this 
Island, and indeed the only one of any importance, 
is the length of the winters, which requires a consider- 
able store of hay for supporting live stock. About a 
ton of hay, with straw for each, taking the large and 
small together, being necessary to winter black cattle 
well. This disadvantage is, however, felt with equal 
severity in Prussia, and over a great part of Germany, 
where the people employed in agricultural pursuits 
form the mass of the inhabitants. 




. When the island was possessed by the French, the 
/ population being small, little trade was carried on by 
the inhabitants, and that government, aware that the 
prosperity of St. John's Island, (as it was called,) with 
its superior natural advantages, would drain off a 
number of the settlers at and near Louisbhurg, dis- 
couraged its fisheries, which at that time, with the 
small overplus of agricultural produce, formed the 
only articles of export. 

On the colony being settled by the British, a 
limited trade in fish, oil, sea-cow skins, and seal skins, 
was carried on with Quebec, Halifax, and Boston. 
The people then engaged in fishing were principally 
Acadian French, who used small shallops, built on the 

As the best fishing banks within the gulf of St. 
Lawrence lay in the immediate vicinage of this island, 
it seems at first rather surprising that there have not 
been before this extensive fisheries established* There 
have it is true, been some attempts made, which from 
different causes failed to succeed. The American 
revolutionary war affected the first trials, and the 
others fell through from mismanagement and want of 


One would naturally conclude that this island, by 
producing the necessary provisions, and having abund- 
ance of proper wood for building vessels and boats, 
together with safe and convenient harbours, should 
have a decided advantage for fisheries over Newfound- 
land. This at present is certainly not the case, and 
the facility with which the prime necessaries of life are 
obtained from the soil, is at present the greatest ob- 
stacle to the success of fishing establishments. 

The timber trade has been for many years of con- 
siderable importance, in employing a number of ships 
and men ; but as far as regarded the prosperity of the 
colony, it might be considered rather as an impediment 
to its improvement, than an advantage, by diverting the 
attention of the inhabitants from agriculture, and 
enabling them also to obtain ardent spirits with facility, 
which generally produce demoralization and drunken 
habits, with consequent poverty and loss of health. 
A trade from which the island has, and will likely 
derive considerable benefit, is carried on with New- 
foundland, by building vessels for the seal and cod 
fisheries established there, and by supplying that 
market with black cattle, sheep, hogs, poultry, oats, 
potatoes, turnips, &c. The returns for which, are 
made either in money, West India produce, or such 
articles as may best answer. Agricultural produce is 
also sent to Halifax, Miramichi, and other places in 
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Beef, pork, sheep, 
hams, butter, cheese, oats, potatoes, flour, and fish, 
are occasionally exported to Bermuda. 

The branch of trade in which the largest capital 


has been invested, and that which has given employ- 
raent to the greatest number of men, while it has at 
the same time been also of considerable benefit to the 
colony, until the late depression in the value of ship- 
ping, is the building of vessels for the British market. 
Upwards of a hundred brigs and ships registering from 
140 to 550 tons each, have been built in different parts 
of the island within the last few years. It must be 
allowed that many of these ships have been built by 
careless and unprincipled workmen, and such vessels 
are of an inferior description ; but a great number are 
fine substantial stately ships, sailing now principally 
from the Ports of London, Liverpool, Bristol, and 
Plymouth. The wood used in ship-building is, if 
allowed proper time to season, of a superior quality, 
although a prejudice has been hatched and kept up 
against it, as well as against that growing in the other 
American colonies. It is, however, a fact, that ves- 
sels built in this island, from twelve to fifteen years 
ago, are still substantial and tight : this alone should 
remove the most inveterate prejudice. 

When we view the position of Prince Edward 
Island, in regard to the countries bordering on the 
gulf of St* Lawrence, the excellence of its harbours 
for fishing stations, and take into account that the 
whole of its surface may, with little exception, be con- 
sidered a body of fertile soil ; it does not certainly re- 
quire the spirit of prophecy to perceive, that unless 
political arrangements may interfere with its pros- 
perity, it will at no very remote period become a valu- 
able agricultural, as well as a commercial country. 



Society ; Amusements; Pursuits of the Inhabitants ; Manners ; 
Customs and Religion; Constitution; Prospects for New 
Settlers, &c. 

Society in any country, as is well known, takes 
its tone from the spirit of its government, and the 
education, pursuits, professions, and religion of its 
inhabitants. The population of Charlotte Town is 
composed of English, Scotch, and Irish, who emi- 
grated to the country, and the descendants of the first 
settlers, part qf whom were American Loyalists, and 
the rest principally from Great Britain and Ireland. 
As there are scarcely three families in the town who 
came from the same part of the United Kingdom3, 
and as the grades in which they moved, as well as 
their education and habits must have been dissimilar, 
it follows that a considerable diversity of manners is 
observed among them. 

During the administrations of Governor Patterson, 
and his successors, General Fanning, and Governor 
Desbarres, the best circle of society in Charlotte 
Town, was allowed to be elegant and respectable, and, 
however, much the members who composed it might 



have differed in their views and opinions, as regarded 
the political affairs of the colony, they did not allow 
either to interfere with the public amusements, or 
their private acts of hospitality. Indeed the politeness 
and attention with which respectable strangers were 
received, became proverbial. During the course of 
Governor Smith's long administration, those social 
and kindly feelings, which united society became un- 
happily weakened, in proportion as the number of its 
respectable members gradually diminished ; some of 
whom left the colony in disgust, and others by their 
deaths, left blanks, at that period particularly difficult 
to be filled up. 

The appointment of Colonel Ready to the ad- 
ministration of the government, will likely have on 
society, as well as on public affairs, an agreeable 
and useful influence, and an increasing population, 
together with a liberal encouragement given to edu- 
cation, will produce beneficial effects. 

In the different British Provinces the highest 
- circle of society is, in a great measure, modelled after 
that of Dublin, and composed of such as visit the 
Government-house, and are admitted at the assem- 
blies: these consist of the officers of government, 
gentlemen of the learned professions, merchants 
whose manners and education entitle them to dis- 
tinction, and such others as have a standing in 
the country, and also strangers, who are respectably 

The amusements of Charlotte Town, although not 


on so extensive a scale, are much the same as in 
Quebec and Halifax. During winter, assemblies axe 
common once a month or oftener. An amateur 
theatre affords an agreeable opportunity of spending 
some pleasant hours. Pic-nic parties* are common in 
summer and winter, and that friendly intercourse and 
intimacy between families, so agreeable in all countries, 
is on much the same footing as in the United Kingdoms. 
Dinner parties were at one time usual, but have not 
been so much so for some time past. The principal 
gentlemen in Charlotte Town generally dine together 
at one of the hotels, on the anniversaries of the tutelar 
saints of the three kingdoms, as well as during the 
sittings of the Colonial Legislature, and of the 
Supreme Court. The ice at different periods during 
winter offers frequent opportunities for skaitihg, to 
those who delight in that amusement. Shooting and 
fishing are other sources of pleasure, and annual 
races, near Charlotte Town, are now likely to become 
permanent. A public subscription library, on a 
liberal* and respectable footing, affords either to those 
who read for amusement, or who wish to keep pace' 
. with the growing intelligence of the world, a variety 
of entertaining and standard works. As the expence 
of keeping a horse is trifling, almost every house- 
keeper has one. During winter it is a favorite amuse- 
ment of all classes to drive out in a cabriolle, a very 
comfortable open carriage, set on runners, wfiich slip 

* See Note B, Appendix. 


easily and rapidly over the snow or ice. When tra- 
velling through the settlements, we discover the inha- 
bitants of Prince Edward Island to consist of En- 
glishmen from almost every county in the kingdom ; 
Scotchmen, whp it is true predominate, from the 
Highlands, Hebrides, and the southern counties ; 
Irishmen from different parts of the Emerald Isle; 
Acadian French, American loyalists, and a few Dutch, 
Germans, and Swedes. 

In the English farmer will be observed the dialect 
of his county, the honest John Bull bluntness of his 
style, and the other characteristics that mark his cha- 
racter. His house or cottage is distinguished by 
cleanliness and neatness, his agricultural implements, 
and utensils are always in order, and where an English 
farmer is industrious and persevering, he is sure to do 
well. He does not, however, reconcile himself so 
readily as the Scotch settler does, to the privations 
necessarily connected for the first few years, with being 
set down in a new country, where the habits of those 
around him, and almost every thing else attached to 
his situation, are somewhat different from what he 
has been accustomed to, and it is not till he is sensibly 
assured of succeeding and bettering his condition, that 
he becomes fully reconciled to the country.* 

The Scotchman, habituated to greater privations 
in his native country, has probably left it with the foil 
determination of undergoing any hardships that may 

* See Note C, Appendix. 


lead to the acquisition of solid advantages; be acts 
with great caution and industry, subjects himself to 
many inconveniences, neglects the comforts for some- 
time, which the Englishman considers indispensable, 
and in time certainly succeeds in surmounting all 
difficulties ; and then, and not till then, does he wil- 
lingly enjoy the comforts of life* The Irish peasant 
may be easily distinguished by his brogue, his confi- 
dence, readiness of reply, seeming happiness, although 
often describing his situation as worse than it is* The 
Irish emigrants are more anxious in general to gain a 
temporary advantage, by working sometime for others, 
than by beginning immediately on a piece of land for 
themselves: and this, by procuring the means, leads 
them too frequently into the habit of drinking, a vice 
to which a great number of English and Scotch be- 
come also unfortunately uddicted. The American 
loyalists came here during the American revolutionary 
war: they are in general industrious aud independent 
in their circumstances, extremely ingenious, building 
their own houses, doing their own joiner work, mason 
work, glazing and painting. The men make their 
own shoes, their ploughs, harrows, and carts, as well as 
their sledges and cabrioUes; the women spin, knit, 
and weave, linens and coarse woollen cloths for domes- 
tic use.* A division of labour does not answer well in 
a new country, and all other settlers are obliged to 
adopt the plans which necessity first taught the 

* See Note D, Appendix. 


Few people find themselves sooner at their ease than 
the Highland Scotch ; no class can encounter difficulties, 
or suffer privations with more hardihood, or endure 
fatigue with less repining. They acquire what they 
consider an independence in a few years; but they re- 
main in too many instances contented with their 
condition, when they find themselves in possession of 
more ample means than they possessed in their native 
country. This observation is however more appli- 
cable to those who settled from thirty to forty years 
ago in the country, and who retain many of the charac- 
teristics which prevailed at that time in the High- 
lands and Isles of Scotland. I have observed, that 
wherever the Highlanders form distinct settlements, 
their habits, their system of husbandry, disregard for 
comfort in their houses, their ancient hospitable cus- 
toms arid their language, undergo no sensible change. 
They frequently pass their winter evenings reciting 
traditionary poems, in Gaelic, which have been trans- 
mitted to them by their forefathers; and I have known 
many who might with more propriety be called genuine 
counterparts of the Highlanders who fought at Cullo- 
den, than can now, from the changes which have during 
, the last fifty years taken place, be found in any part 
of Scotland.* Of the Highlanders who settled in 
this colony about fifty years ago, there are numbers 
still living in excellent health and spirits, although 
from seventy to ninety years of age. They relate the 

* See Note E, Appendix. 


tales of their early days, and the recollections of their 
native land, with enthusiastic rapture, and the wish to 
tread once more on ground sacred to their dearest feel- 
ings, and hallowed from containing the ashes of their 
ancestors, seems paramount to the ties of property, 
and every connexion which binds them to a country 
in which they have so long been domiciliated. There 
are but few indeed that I ever met with in any part 
of America, who do not, in a greater or less degree, 
feel a lingering wish to see their native country; 
and, although prudence or necessity forbids their doing 
so, yet nothing appears to destroy the warm affection 
they retain for the land where they first drew breath. 
This feeling even descends to their children who are 
born in America, and all call the United Kingdoms 
by the endearing name of "Home." 

Various circumstances connected with Scotland 
makes the attachment which her children retain for a 
country to which destiny allows but few of them to 
return, more strongly apparent than is usually observed 
among the natives of England or Ireland. Among 
the latter, indeed, both the recollection of their coun- 
try, and an affection for relatives are strong; but the 
distress to which they were inured, by the oppres- 
sive system under which they lived, extinguished an 
attachment which would otherwise have been warmly 

The honest pride of an Englishman makes him 
consider every country inferior to his own, nor can he 
dn earth discover a nation so eminently blessed as 

73 rantcE edwakd island. 

England is with comforts and advantages; but when 
abroad he seems rather to value it for its many sources 
of enjoyment, and to sigh for the society of friends 
left behind, than to regard it from the sentiments 
which at first inspire a spirit of adventure. All these 
feelings are just, but they check the ardour which con- 
quers difficulties* 

With the native of North Britain, not only does 
the education he receives at school, and the principles 
inculcated at the fire-side of his parents, impress on him 
as well as the usual course of instruction does on the 
native of England, that correctness and propriety of 
conduct are essential to form a character that will suc- 
ceed in the world as well as gain the confidence of 
mankind; but the lessons of early life infuse also, 
both among the lower and middle classes in Scotland, 
a spitit which will endure the greatest hardships with- 
out repining, wherever a manifest utility is to be 

The pride of rising in the world, the consciousness 
that friends left behind will be gratified and elated on 
learning that prosperity attends ones pursuits, and the 
natural ascendency which one acquires in society by 
the superior and successful exertion of ones abilities, 
are altogether motives that have an irresistible influence 
over the character and actions of the majority of those 
who have left Scotland for other countries. The vast 
numbers of them who meet abroad, form attachments 
which arise from the recollections of early days, and 
from conversing on circumstances connected vtith 
their native land. 


The amusements of the farmers and other inhabi- 
tants settled in different parts of the island; are much 
the same as they have been accustomed to before 
leaving the countries they came from. Dances on 
many occasions are common, families visit each other 
at Christmas and new year's day, and almost all that 
is peculiar to Scotland at the season of " Halloween" 
is repeated here. Among the young men, feats of 
running, leaping, and gymnastic exercises $re com* 
mon; but that which they most delight in is galloping 
up and down the country on horseback. Indeed 
many of the farmers' sons who could make a certain 
livelihood by steady labour, acquire a spirit for bargain* 
making, dealing in horses, timber, old watches, &c 
in order to become what they consider (by being idle) 
gentlemen: those who lead this course of life seldom 
do any good, and generally turn otitlazy, drunken, 
dishonest' vagabonds.* 

The term frolic is peculiar, I believe, to America, 
in fhe different senses in which it is there used. If a 
good'wijeha&a, quantity of wool or flax to spin, she in- 
vites as raarjy of hef neighbours as the house can 
Well accommodate ; soihe bring their spinning-wheels, 
others their cards; they remain all day at work, and 
after drinking abundance of tea, either go home 
or remain to daiice for soitae part of the night: 
this is called a spinning frolic. They ate on these 

* See note,. P, Appendix. 


occasions as well as at other frolics, joined by the 
young men of the settlement, and in this way many of 
their love matches are made up. When a farmer or 
new settler wants a piece of wood cut down, he pro- 
cures a few gallons of rum to drink on the occasion, 
and sends for his neighbours to assist him in levelling 
the forest : this is again called a chopping frolic. 

There are about 4000 Acadian French on the 
island, who are principally the descendants of the 
French, who were settled in Nova Scotia, before the 
taking of Cape Breton. They retain with a kind of 
religious feeling, the dress and habits of their ances- 
tors. With few exceptions, they are harmless, 
honest, and inoffensive, and have not at all times 
received the kindest treatment from their neighbours. 
The industry of their wives and daughters is wonder- 
ful: they are at work .during the spring and harvest on 
their forms: they cook and wash, make their husbands' 
as well as their own clothes; they spin, knit, and weave, 
and are scarcely an hour idle during their lives. The 
Acadian French profess the Roman Catholic religion, 
and adhere more rigidly to all its forms than the 
Catholics in Europe do; and indeed more so than 
the Scotch and Irish Catholics. Their priests are edu- 
cated in Canada, and by their examples as well as 
precepts, teach morals and propriety to their flocks. 

These people are not in such easy circumstances 
as the other inhabitants of the island. Those that 
confine themselves to agriculture, are it is true more 


independent, perhaps sufficiently so for people in their 
station, when one considers that few of them can 
either read or write. At the villages of Rustico, they 
follow so many different pursuits, that it is impossible 
for them to succeed: at one time they are employed in 
building vessels, at another for a few weeks farming, 
then fishing, and again cutting timber. It follows 
that they are poor, while the Acadians in other parts 
of the island (although their system of husbandry, 
from which the force of example will not prevail on 
them to depart, is rude and tardy) acquire what ren- 
ders their condition independent. On Sundays- one 
observes a decorum and simplicity in the appearance 
of the Acadians, men, women, and children,, that re- 
mind us of what we read of the correct unassuming 
manners of primitive times. 

The farmers are employed during winter in attend- 
ing to their cattle, threshing out their corn, cutting 
and hauling home firewood for winter use, and a 
stock of fuel for summer; all these, with many other 
little matters immediately connected with his farm and 
house, require the constant attention of a managing 
industrious man. Those however who imprudently 
think they will succeed better by attempting more, 
go into the woods to hew timber for exportation, or 
neglect their farms for ship-building, and other 
speculations which have ruined many* The low price 
of rum, and the vast numbers of houses along all 
the roads which retail it, form the most baneful evil 
connected with the country, and is the grand cause 


of any wretchedness that may be met with. Hitherto 
almost all the formers have caught the fish required 
for their own consumption, and it is generally wise 
for new settlers to do so ; but those who have been 
any time on the island, will find it much more advan- 
tageous to purchase what fish they may want, in 
exchange for the overplus produce of the soil. For- 
merly a considerable quantity of sugar was made from 
the sap of the maple tree. In the spring of th£ year, 
not earlier than March, a small notch or incision 
is cut, (making an angle across the grain in the 
tree,) out of which the juice oozes, and is conveyed 
by a thin piece of wood let in at the lower end of 
the cut, to a wooden trough, or a dish made of bark 
placed on the ground. This liquor is collected once 
or twice a day, and carried to a large kettle or pot, 
where it is reduced by boiling into a very agreeable 
sugar. Scarcely any but the Acadians and Indians 
make any at present. 

The different denominations of religion, and that 
have places of worship, are, the church of England 
as established by law, the kirk of Scotland, Ante- 
burghers, or Seceders from the kirk of Scotland; 
Roman Catholics, Methodists, and Baptists. 

The members of the church of England are not 
numerous, although those of other professions attend 
service at St. Paul's Church, Charlotte Town; indeed 
the right of property and preaching in this edifice, is 
considered as equally vested in the members of the 
kirk of Scotland, which. has hitherto prevented its 


being consecrated, and the bishop of Nova Scotia 
seemed convinced of the same when he visited this 
part of his diocese in 1826. There is another English 
church at St. Eleanor's, a handsome building lately 
erected. . The first place of worship built on the 
island, directly in connexion with the kirk of Scot- 
land, stands near Knette River, in the centre of the 
flourishing settlements in the district of Belfast, 
planted in 1803, by the late Earl of Selkirk. This 
church has been built about two years, and the 
exemplary character and ministration of the Reverend 
Mr. M'Lennan, a gentleman of education and talents, 
who preaches both in Gaelic and English, will doubt- 
less be attended with great benefit, and preserve or 
improve the morals of a people brought up in their 
native country under a due sense of correctness and 

A large and well-designed church also connected 
immediately with the kirk of Scotland was commenced 
about twoyears ago at Charlotte Town, and will very 
likely be finished in a short time. The congregation 
belonging to this church when opened, will be very 
large. The Antetmrghers have eight places of worship 
in different parts of the island. The Methodists have 
about the same number; and the Baptists have two 
or three. 

The Roman Catholics have a large chapel at St. 
Andrew's, eighteen miles from Charlotte Town, where 
bishop Mac Eachran resides : he has with the Catholics 
of this bland,' those of New Brunswick, Cape Breton, 
and the Magdalene Islands under his care. 


There is a handsome Catholic chapel at Charlotte 
Town, and about twelve others in different settlements* 
All the members of these professions associate together 
as neighbours, with great good feeling. The free 
exercise of all religious opinions is tolerated, and the 
Roman Catholics alone are precluded from being 
members of the Assembly, or voting at elections : this 
disability will, it it hoped, soon be removed. 

The Indians, who are of the once numerous Mic- 
mac tribe, profess the Roman Catholic religion, and 
have a chapel and burying place on Lennox Island, 
in Richmond Bay, where their chief has a house. This 
is their principal rendezvous, where they assemble 
about midsummer, on which occasion they meet their 
priest, or the bishop, who hears confessions, adminis- 
ters baptisms, marries those who are inclined to enter 
into that state, and makes other regulations for their 
conduct during the year. Affei 4 remaining here a few 
weeks, the greater number resume their accustomed 
and favorite roving life, and wander along the shores, 
and through the woods of the neighbouring countries. 
This tribe, like all those in the vicinity of civilization, 
has diminished in number more than two-thirds du- 
ring the recollection of the present settlers. ' The wild 
beasts and game having become scarce, they are sub- 
jected to a precarious subsistence; and small pox, 
fevers, &c. to which they were strangers previous to 
their acquaintance with Europeans, have often swept 
away whole families; and when we add their fondness 
of spirituous liquors, the vagabond life they are 
compelled to lead, and the determination they evince 


not to become stationary, or to follow agriculture as 
a means of subsistence, we need not be surprised at 
their numbers decreasing rapidly. 

The constitution of the island is nearly a transcript 
of that of England, and independent of any jurisdic- 
tion in America* 

The government and legislature being vested in 
a Lieutenant-Governor, who represents his Majesty | 
a council, which acts in an executive as well as legisla- 
tive capacity/ and the legislative assembly, who are. 
representatives, elected by the people, and who carry' 
on their proceedings according to the forms of the 
British house of commons. The governor is chancellor 
of the court of chancery ; the chief justice and attor- 
ney general are appointed by the King; and the high 
sheriff is chosen annually as in England. The banis- 
ters plead in both courts, and are all over America* 
attorneys as well, as pleaders. Justices of the peace 
are appointed by the governor during pleasure. The 
practice of the court of chancery is the same as in 
England, as also that of the supreme courts of judica- 
ture, in which criminal and civH causes are tried by a 
jury of twelve men ; matters of small debts are decid- 
ed by special magistrates; and justices of the peace 
take, as in England, cognizance of all breaches of the 

As to the prospects which the advantages of Prince 
Edward Island may present to persons in Europe who 
are desirous to emigrate, they will, I hope, appear 
fairly pointed out in the foregoing pages, to which I 


will briefly add, that the lands as already stated having 
been originally granted away in large tracts, not more 
than 30,000 acres are at present held by the croWn. 
Woodlands in convenient situations may however be 
purchased, for from 5s. to £2. per acre, and leases in 
perpetuity, or at least what amounts to the same thing, 
for 999 years, can be obtained for the annual rent of 
from Is. to : 2s. per acre, and in some situations for 
less. So' that, taking into consideration the advan- 
tages of residing in the vicinity of a well disposed 
society ; of (he opportunity that is afforded of having 
the younger branches of a family instructed in the 
rudiments of education $ of roads communicating be- 
tween ail the settlements ; ; corn-mills and saw-mills 
being almost every where in the neighbourhood ; and 
having the benefit and convenience, by living near 
shipping {torts, of ready markets for the produce of 
the land or sea, it may reasonably be concluded, that 
the terms on which lands can be had in this Island 
are mdre favourable than in any part of the United 
States, bfr Uftfar Canada. iThe value of land, howevelr, 
will not Torig remain" so low; as it will rise along with 
the natural increase of population. The following 
are the prices' of live stock, and other* articles, varying 
however, ftbra the lowest to the highest of these prices 
according to the description and. demand. A good 
horse for saddle or harness ^20 to <£$Q; a serviceable 
horse for farmer's Work, and of the Cahadian breed, 
^10 to J?l f 8 ; a foal five or six months old £S to j&6 ; 
a yolie of oxen according to the size, from j£lO to ^18 ; 


a cow £\ 10s. to £1 ; a calf three or four months 
old 12s. to 20s. a wether sheep 12s. to 15s. an ewe 
and lamb in the spring 15s. to 18s. No determinate 
price for pigs, as it depends oh the build, age, size, 
and condition. Turkeys 2s. 6d. to 3s. stubble geese 
2s. to 2s. 6d. ducks lOd. to 15d. fowls 6d. to lOd. 
. fresh beef from 2|d. to 4|d; ; (sometimes for a week in 
spring, as high as 6d. ;) pork 3d. to 5d. ; mutton 2£d: to 
4jd. ; veal 2jd. to 5d.; butter 8d. to is. sometimes 
during winter, fresh butter as high as 15d. and 18d.; 
cheese 6d. to 10d.; partridges 5d. to 6d.; hares in abund- 
ance, 6d.; codfish, fresh, (weigh about lOlbs.) 6d. each ; 
salmon 2s. to 2s. 0d. each ; herrings, fresh, 3d. to 8d. 
per dozen; lobsters jd. to Id. each ; other kinds offish 
in proportion. Flour 2d. to 3d. per lb ; wheat 4s. to 
6s. barley &s. 6d» to 3s. oats Is. 3d. to 2s. according 
to quality; potatoes Is. to Is. 3d; turnips Is. to is. 
3d. ; carrots, cabbage, and other vegetables are low. 
Rum 4s. to 5s. per gallon; Port wine 10s. to 12s. 
Madeira 10s. to 15s. Brandy 8s. to 9s. Hollands 6$. 
to 8s. all duty paid. Good Souchong Tea, 5s. to 6s. 
good Hyson, 5s. 6d. to 7s. Sugar, 6d. to 8d. per lb. 
These prices are in Halifax currency, which is in value 
one-tenth less than British sterling. 





The first land Cabot met with after leaving New- 
foundland, appears to have been this island. He 
discovered it on the 24th June, 1497, (St. John's day,) 
and called it St. John's Island. On this discovery, 
the English neglected to make any claim to it. The 
French after the settlement of Canada, took possession 
of it, as within the limits of New France, and as hav- 
ing been discovered fn 1523, by Veranzi, who was 
employed by France to go in quest of new discoveries. 
It appears to have been granted in 1663, by the com- 
pany of New France, together with the Magdalene, 
Bird, and Brion Islands, to the Sieur Doublet, a Cap- 
tain in the French navy, to be held in vassalage of the 
company of Miscow. 

The Sieur's associates were two companies of fish- 
ing adventurers, from the towns of Grenviile and St. 
Malves, who never made any permanent settlement on 
the island, except trifling fishing posts at two or three 
places. The French government discouraged its 
settlement, in order to force that of Cape Breton, which 


was then of vast importance to that nation; as the 

post which commanded the passage by the St. Law- 
rence to New France, or Canada, and having the 
harbour of Louisbourg, as a rendezvous for their navy, 
more readily enabled them to intercept and annoy 
many of our ships trading to the West Indies, and to 
different parts of the British American coast, now the 
United States. 

After the Peace of Utrecht, many of the French 
who lived in Acadia came and settled on this island ; 
and others from Cape Breton did the same, on finding 
they could have the advantage of a fertile soil, as well 
as the benefit of a plentiful fishery :— the best fishing 
banks having been discovered in its immediate vicin- 
age. After this, the French garrison at Louisbourg 
received from hence grain, vegetables, and cattle ; two 
commissaries were stationed at different places for 
the purpose of collecting the same ; but so great was 
the apprehension of the French government, that its 
superior natural advantages would drain off the fisher- 
men settled at Louisbourg, that except in two or three 
harbours, the inhabitants were prohibited from engag- 
ing in fishing. 

A French officer of education and observation, who 
visited it in 1752, says, « St. John's is the largest of 
all the islands in the gulf of St. Lawrence, and has the 
advantage of Cape Breton, in point of fertility. It had 
safe harbours, plenty of wood, and as great a conveni- 
ency for fishing as any place on the coast. It had been 
altogether neglected, as well as Cape Breton ; until 
necessity having shewn the French the utility of the 


latter, their eyes were also opened in regard to the 
former. They have since been at great pains to plant 
it, though not enough, considering its advantageous 

" Though the island of St. John is subject to a 
particular commandant, he receives his orders from the 
governor of Cape Breton, and administers justice con- 
junctly with the sub-delegate of the intendant of Jfew 
France. They reside at Port la Joye," (now Charlotte 
Town) " and the governor at Loqisbourg furnishes 
them with a garrison of sixty ipen. 

€( It was frppi tbis place we set ojit in the begin- 
ning of the month of August, 1752 ; \ye ascended the 
river to the north east seven leagues, up to fts very 
source ; from whence we proceeded to the harbour of 
St. Peter, after having cpade a carriage of four leagues 
across a plain well cultivated, and abounding with fill 
sorts of grain/' After remaining some days at St. 
Peter's he visited the harbours of Fortune, De la Sour is, 
Matieu. The neighbouring lands of which, he con- 
tinues, " are exceeding good and proper for culture. 
We found several sorts of trees with a prodigious num- 
ber of foxes, martens, hares, partridges, &c. The 
rivers abound in fish, and are bordered with pasture 
lands, that produce exceeding good grass. The inha- 
bitants came over here from Acadia, during the last 
war, and are about eight and forty in number. After 
coasting along, we doubled the east point, which we 
found deserted, because a fire had obliged the inhabi- 
tants to abandon it, in order to go and settle two 

PWtffiS P0W4HB ISfcAMO. «& 

leagues ftwtjhfjT gpQg t^e north side. We continued 
our course for si^ leagues till we arrived at the PooJ de 
Naufrage. The though very level, presents the 
eye with nothing but g country laid waste by fire ; and 
further on it is covered with woqds. We met with 
but one inhabitant, who told us the lands about the 
pool were exceeding good, and easy to cultivate, and 
that every thing grows there in great plenty. Of this 
he gwe us a, demonstration that afforded us a singular 
pleasure; this w%s si small quantity of wheat he had 
sown that year, and indeed nothing could be more 
beautiful than the ears, which were longer and fuller 
than any I had seen in Europe. 

" This place took the name of Pool de Naufrage, 
from a French ship that had been cast away on the 
coast* The vessel was lost four leagues out at sea ; 
hut a few passengers saved themselves upon the wreck, 
and were the first that settled at the harbour of St. 
Peter. The coast swarms with all sorts of game, and 
with a variety of the very best fish/' This writer, after 
describing places at that time settled, namely, Port la 
Joye, Point Prime* St* Peter's, Savage Harbour, For- 
tune, Soutis, Matieu, Trois Rivieres, Tracadie, Racico, 
(Rustico,) Malpec, (Richmond Bay,) Cascampec Be- 
dec, Riviere aux Blonds, (Tryou) Riviere des Crapauds, 
and Des Sables, further observes, "The plantation 
of this island is of great consequence, as well in regard 
to the fishery, as to the commerce which the inhabi- 
tants njay carry oi* in the interior p#rts 5 but to render 


it more solid and durable, they should attend to the 
more essential part, namely, to agriculture and pastur- 
age ; for the breeding and maintaining of all sorts of 
cattle, and especially sheep ; by keeping- them together 
in folds, the upper lands might be improved, and the 
meadows and corn fields laid out; from whence the 
inhabitants would reap a plentiful harvest of all kinds 
of grain. For if they had but the proper means of 
making these improvements, their own lands would 
abundantly supply all their wants, and they would be 
beholden to foreigners for nothing but salt, lines, 
hooks, and other fishing tackle/' 

" Here they have likewise a vast quantity of plaice, 
thornbacks, mackerel, and herrings. In several 
pools and lakes along the downs, they have excellent 
trouts, and such a prodigious quantity of eels, that 
three men might fill three hogsheads of them in four 
and twenty hours ; lastly, you meet in all parts of the 
island with great plenty of game. It is therefore sur- 
prising that so plentiful a country should have so long 
been overlooked by the French."* 

From the foregoing extracts it is probable that the 
French government would, in the. event of its having 
held the sovereignty of the Island, have directed spe- 
cial attention to its improvement. Its population in 

* Genuine Letters and Memoirs relating to the Natural, Civil, , 
and Commercial History of the Islands of Cape-Breton, and Saint 
John, from the first Settlement there to the taking of Loaisbourg, 
by the English, in 1758, by an impartial Frenchman.^-London, 


1758, when it surrendered to Great Britain, was said 
to be near 10,000. Lieutenant-Colonel Rollo was 
sent from Louisbourg, by General Amherst, to take 
possession of it ; and to the eternal disgrace of the 
French Governor, a vast number of English scalps 
were found hung up in his house. The Island for 
two years preceding was the principal resort of the 
Mic Mac Indians; and from the immense quantity of 
oyster shells, on the banks of the rivers, in the neigh- 
bourhood of oyster beds, and where the Indians gener- 
ally pitched their wigwams or tents, we may con- 
clude that it was their rendezvous for many centuries. 
In several places these shells, which are partially in a 
pulverised state, cover several acres to the depth of 
from one to five feet. 

The old Acadian French at that time assimilated 
themselves, in a great measure, to the manners and 
habits of the Indians. Some of these Acadians were 
sent off to Canada, others to the Southern Colonies. 

Atthe peace of 1763, this Island and Cape-Breton 
were annexed to the Government of Nova Scotia. In 
1764, a general survey of the British Empire in North 
America was begun, by order of Government, and that 
of this Island was completed in 1776. 

Some difference having arisen, as to the plan for 
settling it, Lord Egremont, then first Lord of the 
Admiralty, proposed doing so, on a feudal plan. His 
Lordship to be Lord Paramount of the Colony, which 
was to be divided into twelve baronies, to be held of 
him. Each baron to erect a castle, to maintain so 


mariy m£n, whd with thfeir under-tenants were to per- 
form Siiit add service» This scheme was very proper- 
ly rejected, and the lands of the Island being consider- 
ed too Valuable ib grant awdjr indiscriminately, like 
the rest Of the newly-fecquired territories In America, 
this Colony wafc divided into siity-seven townships, of 
about 2O3OOO acres each ; and granted by recommenda- 
tion of the Boftrd of Ttade and Plantations to persons 
who Weite considered as havibg claims on the govern- 

By the terms and conditions of the first grants, a 
quit-ferit was reserved to llis Majesty, of six shillings 
peir hundred acres on some, of four shillings on others, 
and of two shillings per hundred acres on the remain- 
ing townships, payable on the Feast of St. Michael. 
A reservation was ihade *t the same time of all such 
parts to His Majesty, as had then been set apart, or 
should thereafter be set apart, for erecting fortifica- 
tions, building wharfs, enclosing naval y&rds, or hying 
out highways for the convenience of communication 
from one part of the Island to another; and of alf 
mines of gold, silver, and cofels. Also a reservation 
on efteh township, for church and school lands, and 
for a fishery on the sea eoast, within the distance of 
500 feet from high water iflarit. 

The grantees of each township were to Settle the 
same within ten years from the date of their grants, 
in the proportion of one person to every 200 acres, 
one-third of which, in this proportion, to be settled in 
four years, with Protestants from the Continent of 

Prince SfoivAtfD island. 89 

Europe, of who' ted resided for two years in America 
arit^cedenf' to the date of t^e respective grant of 
each township. v ^ : - 

; . : Tfrkis wab the whole of this valuable colony, ex- 
c#p%< tlfc above smalf reservations arid three others 
fW iritentfed county 1own fe/ given away in one day; 
G*eat' expectations w^re Jgrt&ed on this plan for its 
settlement, and on the flattering report drawn up by 
Captato Holland* surveyor general of North America. 
But many of the proprietors from necessity or other 
motives, sold their lands to: puch as were either 
unable Or Unwilling to settle them on the original plan, 
and the; colony falling in this manner inta the hands 
of a few individuals, has been the great cause of its 
not having b6e& long ago populously settled. It was 
not fill lands to corivenierit situations in the neigh- 
bouring colonies were located, that the lauds of this 
island were considered, worth the value set on them 
by the proprietors; arid flie very prejudice against 
settling on lands, unless held in free soccage from 
the crown, had a powerful influence at that time in 
directing emigrants to other places. 

. in 1768, a nqfajority of the proprietors presented a 
petition to His Majesty, graying that the island might 
be erected into a separate and distinct government 
Thi§ was granted, and Walter Patterson, Esq. ap- 
pointed governor, who with the other officers of 
government arrived on the island in 1770, at whicfy 
time there were not living on it more thaq 150 fami- 



lies, and only five resident proprietors* A little after, 
Governor Patterson planted a number of Acadian 
French along the front of lot 17, (St. Eleanor's) and 
the proprietors oCtot 18, (fronting on Richmond Bay) 
brought several families from Argyleshire, who were 
settled here in 1770 and 1772.- The settlement of 
New London, Rustico, and Elliot River commenced 
in 1773 ; and Cove Head and lot 59, at Three Rivers, 
were settled early by the late Sir James Montgomery, 
who did more than any other proprietor for the set- 
tlers* Tracady was planted with about 300 High- 
landers by the late Captain Macdonald, between 1770 
and 1773; and a few other places were partially 
settled about the same period. 

The first House of Assembly met in 1773, by His 
Majesty's Royal Commission, which gave a complete 
constitution to the colony. The remainder of Gover- 
nor Patterson's administration, which ended in 1789, 
was filled up with political differences between him- 
self and the proprietors, and he resorted to steps, in 
every sense improper and illegal, to deprive them of 
their lands. 

During the American revolutionary war, several of 
the enemy's armed vessels were captured and brought 
to Charlotte Town; and the frigates, which annually 
brought out the Quebec convoys, generally spent part 
of the summer on this station. Barracks were at the 
same time erected to accommodate four Provincial 
Companies sent from New York. The administra- 


tion of the late General Fanning, who succeeded 
Governor Patterson, was productive of no advantage 
to the island, nor of any apparent injury to individuals, 
except to those tfho preferred complaints against him 
and the officers of the customs in 1791 : these com- 
plaints were dismissed, and the complainants subject- 
ed to heavy expenses. Soon after his appointment, 
two provincial corps were raised by order of His 
Majesty, for the protection of the island, and the bar- 
racks as they now stand were rebuilt by order of the 
Duke of Kent : three troops of volunteer horse were 
also formed, and the name of the island changed 
in 1799, from St. John, and catled by an act of the 
Colonial Legislature, Prince Edward Island, The 
inhabitants during the whole of this period were 
distinguished for their loyalty. 

Governor Fanning's ruling passion during his 
administration was that of acquiring landed property 
in the colony, and he succeeded in securing to himself 
some of the best tracts without proceeding to any 
vblent measures. He was brought up, and I believe 
born in the United States, and of very obscure origin. 
The revolutionary war afforded him an opportunity of 
rising in the world; but as he never was actively 
engaged against the enemy, he owed his fortune to 
circumstances, the advantages of which, he had the 
finesse to seize. He was succeeded by Joseph Fre- 
derick Wallete Desbarres, Esq. who had previously 
been Lieutenant Governor of Cape Breton. 

Governor Desbarres was a man of considerable 
talent, liberal education, and well known as an expert 


hydrographer and draughtsman. He possessed also 
a number of kind and generous qualities j but from 
the easy influence which designing open had acquired 
over him, he was led perhaps, more by them than by 
any deliberate principle of ,&s own, to do a numhex 
of foolish things, and some unjust ones- 
He was succeeded in 1813, by Charles Douglas 
Smith, Esq. a brpther of Sir Sydpey Smith. The 
period at which he entered on the administration was as 
propitious as he could wish ; the country^being in a 
condition to enable him to direct aji its. resources to 
the general advantage of the colony. Possessing as 
he did in an eminent degree the friendship of Lord 
Bathurst, had he taken any interest in the welfare. of 
the country which was committed to his care, jbe might 
have still governed it with credit to hinweif, and satis- 
faction to the people, instead of making his adminis- 
tration obnoxious to almost every, iadiyjdual in the 
colony. For three years previous to his removal, the 
Colonial Legislature was pot suffered to: meet, and 
the distress occasioned by the proceedings instituted 
in 1823, (which will ever be remembered wilh $ensa- 
tiens of horror in the colony) occasioned * simulta- 
neous feeling in the public minc^ jvhich; mfrde the 
people persevere in the only constitutional way to 
effect his dismissal, 

A requisition for convening county rneetings was 
made to the. High Sheriff* by the principal people 

*The High Sheriff of the whole island is appointed as in 
England, annually, and forested by virtue of his office with pre- 


on the is|and. Thesp meetiogs wefe. held and con- 
duced tyith propriety., accarum, -and unfeigned feel- 
i»g* .of loyalty, „ l Resolutions embodying changes 
against the ( governor iff ere iinanitobufcly agreed to, 
and .* committee; lappolatfed by eaoh cf the vcminty 
Meetings ta prepare* ^titidrfilo flift M^jefity fdt^ the 
removal of the Governor and Cbfef Jiiatice; These 
petitions were groupded on the ehatf es dbritAiftea in 
the resolutions of the -county ni^tiri^sy and Were 
rfgtted by almost every i lahdHolder and householder 
mflie colony; . JotovSteWtirtt, Esq. one of Ae coin- 
iftittee for QueeiiVCMftt^^faS Appointed agent for 
J-..-- v .*•, *.,-- : r. % : ^uu;- 1 -;^ \ ' •:--": ";. -.--•.•'- ..'.> ••-i *:-■ 
cisely tho same powors, J ha^ the honor Jo holdtfiftt appointment 
tShisyear, ancfon receiving a requisition signed by the. principal 
persons In the colony, to convene* coutfty meetings for the pur- 
pose of petitioning His Majesty loir the vedress of grievances, I 
considered that under oxjsfcing qircumsta i nces r it was my bounfden 
duty io afford the inhabitants the opportunity of doing so; and 
gave public notice of the rfame. tiif this, His Excellency imme- 
diately hei** council, the n^orftroTwhielillei^ appointed by 
himself concurred with < him, in, /orfetfjKn{rme to saaejion Ute 
county meetings ( I felt howeyer clearly convinced ttatl t could 
not in conformity tfrttie oath I/had taken iii entering into Wee, 
bat allow His Mjajeaty'* subjects the' privilege of petition. As a 
dernisr resorfj, t|ie governor a^ea^ f te<l *e siipei^Je me the toy 
before the meeting of the Supreme Court of Jadieature.direcjtiDff 
my deputy who bad given I liO surety, ^o take upon him the duty 
of ibe office, and whose first act was <o erase frinn the grand jo^ 
list, which I had ^returned t into the Crowpr gffide* We, jnajaes «jf 
iohn Stewart, Esq. and another person then, in court, in j>bedi-» 
eneelo their summons assurors. 4 Xs'&nV interfered with a fair 
tfWbyjury, on tno Attorney General rising, and eip^ssingbfs 
horror a£ the . acty the court wa* thrown iojo eonfupion, and too 
legal business o/ any importance was ventured upon «n|il <be 
Governor and Chief Justice were dismissed from tneir offices. 


the island to carry home the petitions. Previously 
however to his leaving, the Governor thought fit to 
issue attachments out of the Court of Chancery, 
against him and the other gentlemen who composed 
the committee for Queen's County, under pretence 
of their being guilty of a contempt of that court, in 
taking upon them to state in one of the resolutions 
of the county meeting, that the governor sanctioned 
illegal fees in that court, since his appointing his 
son-in-law a lieutenant on the half pay of the 98th 
regiment, to the office of master and. registrar. Mr. 
Stewart, however, escaped over to. Nova Scotia with 
the petitions and necessary evidence to support them, 
and at the advanced age of 66, came to England in 
the month of December. He succeeded, soon after 
his arrival at London, in having the Governor and 
Chief Justice removed from their offices. The other 
gentlemen of the committee were arrested and brought 
up before the Governor as chancellor. He ordered 
them into custody of the serjeant at arms ; but from 
the great assembly of people at Charlotte Town on 
that day, and being aware that the inhabitants would 
not allow their representatives to remain in prison, 
he did not venture to commit them. He at the same 
time suspended the learned and independent Attorney 
General, W. Johnston, Esq. for having the hardihood 
to speak in court, when the members of the com- 
mittee who were brought to the bar had been ordered 
into custody, without being allowed the privilege of 
being heard but by petition. After this Governor 


Smith remained within the barrack gates, apparently 
inactive as respected the local affairs of the colony, 
until he left the island after the arrival of his successor, 
Governor Ready. 

The Attorney General was soon after reinstated 
in his office. Writs for a new election were issued, 
and Mr. Stewart, who returned to the island in the 
same ship with the governor, was chosen speaker of the 
House of Assembly, during the first session of which 
twenty-three acts of great importance to the country 
were passed and added to the code of colonial laws. 
Governor Ready has since been in England, but has 
again returned to the isiarid; the improvement and 
prosperity of which appear with him paramount to 
every other consideration. The roads all over the 
island have been widened and made fit for carriages. 
New bridges have been erected, and old ones repaired. 
The House of Assembly have appropriated money for 
supporting schools in the settlements. Agriculture 
and the breeding of cattle are encouraged, and what 
has been effected in so short a time, proves how much 
might have formerly been done, without any expeoce, 
but the proper application of the colonial revenue.* 

* See Note E, Appendix. 

Account of Cape Breton, 


Geographical situation. .Configuration and general description.. 
Soil and Climate. . Sketch of its History. 

Capb Breton is bounded on the south and east by 
the Atlantic ocean, and on the north and north west, 
by the Gulf of St, Lawrence. The Gut of Canso 
separates it on the west from Nova Scotia, and forms 
also a deep and safe passage into the gulf; to which 
however, the principal entrance, 57 miles in width, is 
between Cape Ray in Newfoundland, and the north 
eape of Cape Breton.* 

* The rocky and iron-bound isle of St Paul is situated In 
this passage, about ten miles from the North Cape ; and is from 
its position, much dreaded by mariners in dark nights and foggy 
weather. A lighthouse on this isltnd is a* much required as any 
one thing that can he named for the safety of ships sailing to and 
from parts within the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Many vessels and 
lives have been lost on this unhospitable rock ; and one of the 
most melancholy events in the annals of shipwrecks, is that of the 
ship Jessie, which occurred in 1823. This vessel with Mr. Donald 
Mackay, the owner, and some other passengers, with the master 
and crew, twenty-six in number, left the harbour of Three 
Rivers in Prince Edward Island, on the 25th December; and as the 
ship was observed off the coast of Cape Breton, near Chctican, 
during a snow storm on the 27tb, it is probable she struck in 
the night on St. Paul's Island. 

In the month of May following, (no accounts having before 
been received of the vessel,) it was reported, that some fishermen 


Thfe aspect of Cape Breton is romantic and moun- 
tainous. The coast, washed' by the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence, is of dangerous access, without harbours, and 
its iron-faced cliffs high, and in many places perpen- 
dicular. On the AtJ&ritic the shares are broken and 
rugged, but indented with numerous harbours and 
bfctjte. Wobds, with the exceptions of small patches 
cleared for cultivation, and such spots as are thrown 
open where rocks occupy the surface, cover the whole 
islabd. The trees are of much the same kind and 
description as those in Prince Edward Island, unless 
it be on the sea coast and mountains, in which situa- 
tions they are of a dwarfish character. 

bad discovered the wreck of a ship and a number of bodies on 8%. 
Paul's Island. On this report, a schooner was despatched thence 
from Charlotte Town, the people on board of which found the 

. wreck, of the Jessie, and the bodies of eleven men, who must have 
perished by the inteose cold soon after landing; the remainder 
of^he crew, it is likely, were either washed overboard by the surf, 
or lost in attempting to get up the cliff. The bodies of Mr. Mac- 
kay and the master were carried to Charlotte Town; nothing 
could be more melancholy, than their funerals, which were attended 

; by the greatest concourse .of people ever known at Charlotte 
?Town to attend the remains of any person to the mansions of 
the dead. I had for some years enjoyed the. friendship of this 
gentleman, I was one of the Jasjt that parted with him on leaving 
tbo island, and six. months afterwards I saw bis body laid in 
the grave. When I say that few men have left the world more 
regretted, that in his manners he was truly a gentleman, and 
that he possessed in an eminent degree, all the. kind and good 
qualities which gain the hearts and the esteem of men ; no one 
who knew him, will say that I exaggerate. He was born in Scot- 
land, served His Majesty for some years, was taken on the Coast of 
France, and detained ten years a prisoner in that country. 

CAPE BRETO*. ,$9) 

It may be * conjectured that this island was de- 
tached from the continent of America by some viplent 
convulsion, yet it is remarkable that the nycleus or. 
base of Cape Breton is apparently different from that 
of Nova Scotia immediately opposite, although the 
Gut of Cpnso, which divides them, is not in a distance 
of five $r .sis leagues, more than a mile in width. 
Granite; &c. prevail on the eastern shores of Nova 
Scotia ;. limestone, gypsum, &£. predominate in Cape 
fyretpn. Coal abounds in so mqny parts that the *ub- 
stratum of the whple island has been by many persons . 
cpnjep tured to be one vast bed of this mineral. Pieces 
of copper ore ate frequently found in, the anterior, and 
from the indications of iron ore discovered, it may be 
conclude;! that it exists in great abundance.* 

< * I must here observe, that I have no£ had sufficient opportu- 
nity to acquire' much knowledge of the geological structure or 
mineralogy of Cape Breton ; and I regrdt being unable to give an - 
account f$j£e geology of the other countries described j A this 
work ; - my, knowledge of which being . chiefly conined to what 
I have observed on the surface of the earth, on the hanks of 
rivers and lakes, on' the faces of cliffs, and on the shores of the 
sea. Although these parts of America afford to tb* naturalist a •• 
rich field for inquiry, yet it is a task of no ordinary difficulty 
to surmount the obstacles common to a wilderness country, 
rendered almost impassable by dense forests,' rocks, mountains, 
and water courses. Centuries, must therefore elapse before a • 
satisfactory knowledge of the mineral and vegetable kingdoms in . 
North America can be obtained. Much might be surmounted it . 
is true by' government ; add it would certainly be an object of as 
much utility to examine and explore the interior of Newfound- 
land, Labrador, and the countries to the north and south of the 
St. Lawrence, below the Ganadian Parishes, and on the river 


The soil in many places is thin, rocky, and unfit 
for profitable cultivation: in others wet, and in- 
clining to the character of mossy bogs. In the inte- 
rior, on the borders of the Bras d' Or lake, and along 
the numerous streams that rise in the mountains, and 
which wind through the country to the sea, there are 
however,' extensive tracts of excellent land; and, on 
the north west coast also, in the valleys some distance 
from the sea; lands with a rich and deep soil are to be 
met with. The land fit for profitable cultivation 
may. amount to 500,000, acres, a considerable part 
of which is all alluvial. The whole of the lands 
afford good pasturage, and great numbers of black 
cattle and sheep might be raised* From the hu- 
midity of the climate, wheat is liable in ripening 
to casual failures, which would not likely be the 
case, if the country were once opened by clearing 
away tl>e woods, as cultivation and exposure to 
the sun would dry up the ground more readily. 
Barley, buck wheat, potatoes, and a variety of cul- 
inary vegetables may be raised in great abundance; 
and I think hemp and flax would succeed here as 
well as in Russia or Canada. 

The climate of Cape Breton differs only from that 
of Prince Edward Island, in its being subject, par- 
ticularly on the Atlantic Coast, to fogs ; and in the 
inland parts to a more humid atmosphere; which 
may be accounted for by its geographical position, 

Saghaimy, as attempting to pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific* 
through the Arctic Seas. 


and the interior abounding with lakes and arms of the 
sea, while the soil, owing to its stiffness, does not so 
readily absorb the rain, nor the water which remains 
on the ground after the snow melts. The bays and 
rivers which open to the Atlantic are not so long 
frozen up as those within the gulf; the difference at 
the beginning and termination may be considered at 
each period from fifteen to twenty days. On the 
Atlantic Coasts of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, and 
Nova Scotia, wet weather prevails much more during 
the year, than within the Gulf of St. Lawrence and 
the interior of America. The climate notwithstanding 
is salubrious; and while unhealthy subjects are ex- 
ceedingly rare, instances of longevity from 90 to up- 
wards of 100 years are common. 

It has been said that Cape Breton obtained its 
name from the first discoverers being natives of Brit- 
tany ; but this is not true, as it was first discovered 
by Cabot, and afterwards by Veranzi, who named it 
Isle du Cap. In 1713, it was called by the French 
Isle Rbyale, and it remained unplanted until 1714, 
when the French of Newfoundland and Acadia made 
some settlements on it, near the sea shore, where each 
person built according to his fancy, as he found 
ground convenient for drying cod-fish, and for small 

In 1715, after Louis XIV. had been so long con- 
tending with the united powers of Europe, he made 
an offer to Queen Anne of part of the French posses- 
sions in North America, in order to detach Great 
Britain from that formidable alliance ; and in conse- 


quence of the treaty of Utreqht, the British became 
possessed of Newfoundland, Hudson's Bay, and Aca- 
dia, (Nova Scotia;) in short, all that -France could do 
was to, preserve Canada, .and the islands of Cape Bre- 
ton and SU John, (Prince Edward.) 

Cape Breton had hitherto been considered alto-r 
gether unfit for making any settlement on it. In 
summer time it was frequented by a few fishermen, and 
during the winter, the inhabitants qf Acadia resorted 
thither for the purpose of trading for furs with the 

But the French, in order partly to rfepair the loss 
they sustained, and as it was of the utmost conse- ' 
quence to them not to be entirely driven out of the 
cod fishery, and also to preserve, a post that would 
enable thein to command the mputh of the river St. 
Lawrence, fyy which a commiyucation was kept open 
with Canad^; were, by such solid considerations induced 
to plant the colony of Cape Breton, and to build the 
town, and fortify the harbour of J^oujsbourg. , 

Th<e Seneglay, a French ship of war commanded 
by M, de Contreville > arrived at Louisbqurg on the 
13thAugust f 1713, and took possession of it; but it 
was not fortified until 1720. It was taken* t>y the 
British in 174S, at which time also they built a, fort 
at Indian Bay, where they discovered a cpal pit. 
type Jteetpn wae restore jl to France pj the treaty of 
Ail; la Chapell^* ^nd remaned ju pcp^jmofj^ 
.power un^ty the swender of Lo^qujg, 911 the 26th 


of General Amherst, and Brigadier-generals Lawrence 
and Wolfe, and the fleet commanded by Admiral 

The French, commanded by M. de Drucourt, 
defended Louisbourg from the 8th of June until its 
capitulation, with extraordinary bravery and heroism, 
against a powerful fleet consisting of twenty-three ships 
of the line, eighteen frigates, with sloops of war and 
transports amounting to 157 ships, and against 16,000 
land forces. 

The British government fearing that Louisbourg 
might again fall into the power of France, and on 
account of the expence and difficulty experienced in 
wresting it from that nation, ordered the town and 
fortifications to be demolished, and it has ever since 
remained in ruins, notwithstanding its excellent har- 
bour and the importance attached to its conquest. 

The following description of the then metropolis of 

this colony, previous tothfc landing of the English forces 

in 1758, is taken down from an account of Cape 

Breton by ft person then residing at Louisbourg,* 'The 

French began to fortify this ibvtrn in 1720.' It ' J is 

'. built on a rifeck of land ^hich juts out into the sea, 

- sbuth east of the island. It is of an oblong ^figure, and 

' nearly a league in circumference. Thd streets are 

wide and regular, and near the principal fort and cita- 

> * 'Genuine letters tnd memoirs relating to the national, civil, 
and commercial history of the islands of Cape Breton and $L 
John, by an impartial Frenchman. English translation, London, 

, 1761. 


del there is a handsome parade. To the north of the 
town there are three gates, and a spacious quay. 
They have likewise constructed a kind of bridges, 
called in French caUes, (wharves) which project con- 
siderably into the sea, and are extremely convenient 
for loading and unloading goods." 

" The fortifications consist of two bastions, called 
the King's and Queen's, and two demi-bastions, dis- 
tinguished by the names of Dauphin and Princess 
These two outworks are commanded by several emi- 
nences. The houses are almost all of wood j the stone 
ones have been built at the King's expence, and are 
designed for the accommodation of the troops and the 
officers. When the English were masters of the 
town in 1745, they built very considerable caserns* 
The French transported the materials of these stone 
buildings as well as their other works from Europe/' 

" There is hardly a settlement that has been atten- 
ded with more expence to the French nation, than 
this of Louisbourg. It is certain that they have laid 
out above thirty millions of livres, and so cogent were 
the motives which induced them to put this scheme 
into execution, that the preservation of Louisbourg 
will always be considered as an object of too great im- 
portance not to sacrifice every thing to it. Cape 
Breton protects the whole French trade of North 
America, and is of equal consequence in regard to 
their commerce in the West Indies. If they had 
no settlement in this part of the north, (America) their 
vessels returning from St. Domingo or Martinique, 


would no longer be safe on the great bank of New- 
foundland, particularly in time of war ; lastly, as it is 
situated at the entrance of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
it absolutely commands the river of that name." 

"The entrance of the harbour ofLouisbourg is 
defended by a battery level with the surface of the 
water. It is planted opposite the lighthouse, on 
the other side of the grande terre ; and consists of 
thirty-six pieces of cannon, all of themfour-and-twenty 
pounders. The harbour is also defended by a Cavalier, 
called by the name of Maurepas, which has twelve 
embrasures. The royal battery, situate at the distance 
of a quarter of a league from the town, is mounted 
with thirty pieces of cannon, twenty-eight of which 
are thirty-six pounders, and two are eighteen pounders. 
It commands the sea, the town, and the bottom, of the 


'\ " The port of Louisbourg is at least a league in 

s£ length, and upwards of a quarter of a league" (about 

a mile) " in its smallest breadth. There is very good 

holding ground, and generally from six to ten fathoms 

% water. They have a very safe and convenient place 

to careen their ships, where they may also be laid up 

in winter, only taking proper precautions against the 


The population ofLouisbourg at this time, exclu- 
sive of the troops, was about 5,000. The administra- 
tion was lodged in a Governor and Supreme Council : 
there was also a bailiwick or court of law, and a court 
of admiralty. There was a general hospital for invalid 


soldiers and sailors, " which was served by six brothers 
of the charitable fraternity," of whose conduct, as well 
as that of the Recollect Friars, and other spiritual 
directors in Cape Breton, complaints were frequently 
made : particularly as respected the methods they 
adopted to exasperate the Indians against the English 
during war. The Nuns of Louisbourg called them- 
selves of the community of Quebec ; their province 
was to superintend the education of young girls. 

The merchants and the greater part of the inhabi- 
tants of Louisbourg were sent after its capture to 
France, in English vessels. But the officers of govern- 
ment, the military and naval officers, soldiers, marines, 
and sailors, in number 5,720 were transported as 
prisoners of war to England. The stores and ammuni- 
tion, besides 227 pieces of cannon, found in Louis- 
bourg were very considerable. 

During the period this colony was held by France, 
the inhabitants were with few exceptions all engaged 
in the fisheries* In this trade were employed near 
600 vessels, exclusive of boats, and between 27,000 
and 28,000 seamen; and the French ministry 
considered this fishery a more valuable source of wealth 
and power to France than even the mines of Mexico 
and Peru would be r The principal settlements at that 
time were within the Bras d'or lake, at Port Dauphin, 
(St. Ann's) Spanish Bay, (now Sidney) Port Toulouse, 
(St. Peter's) Arichat, Petit De Grat, and River Inha- 


Soon after the peace which followed the American 
revolutionary war, Cape Breton was made a distinct 
government from Nova Scotia, and its administration 
vested in a Lieutenant Governor and Executive Council. 
Sidney was laid out and built for the metropolis of 
the island ; in which place the Lieutenant Governor 
resided, the courts of law were held, and a garrison, 
was stationed under the command of a captain or 
subaltern officer. The different Governors were said 
to consider it wiser policy, to make their power more 
subservient to their own particular views, than to the 
improvement and settlement of the eotony, which 
prevented its prosperity during their administration ; 
and it has, subsequent to the appointment of Lieute- 
nant General Sir James Kempt, in 1820, to the govern- 
ment of Nova Scotia, been re-annexed, as a county 
sending two members to represent it in general 
assembly, to that province. 

General Kempt, from his accurate knowledge of 
business, as well as from his indefatigable persever- 
ance, and sound judgment, is one of the ablest of His 
Majesty's representatives in the British colonies ; and 
directs much of his attention to the improvement of 
Cape Breton. Roads will soon be opened to facilitate 
the intercourse between the settlements. The location 
of lands is placed under regulations which give 
ready possession to new settlers, and all that can be 
effected by the provincial government will, at least 
under his administration, be extended to this island. 



Present State of Cape Breton..,. Sidney.... Gut of Caaso.... 
Ariobat.. Settlements within the Bra d'Or... Pursuits of the 

Cape Breton is at present less improved, and has 
a smaller population, in proportion to its super- 
ficies, with the exception of Newfoundland and 
Labrador, than any of the British North American 
colonies. When the mighty importance attached to 
it by France ; the abundant fisheries on its coasts ; 
its numerous harbours ; and its producing plenty of 
wood for building vessels and boats; and also a soil 
capable of producing grain, vegetables, and excellent 
grazing, together with its coal mines, are taken 
into consideration, it appears difficult to account 
for this colony having been so long neglected, while 
the attention of government has been directed to the 
colonization of countries so distant as the Cape of 
Good Hope, and Van Dieman's Land : this can only 
be accounted for from the advantages and resources 
of British America having been imperfectly under- 
stood, not only by government, but by individuals 
desirous to emigrate. 

The population of this colony consists of Scotch 
from the Western Highlands and Isles of Scotland, 


who form the greater proportion of the inhabitants, 
and who are settled principally within the Bras d'Or* 
at its North West Arm, at River Denny, and a few 
other plaees ; and also along the shores of the Got of 
Canso, and the coast to the harbour of Justa Corps; 
at Cape Mabou, and on the Atlantic shore at St. Esprit. 
Acadian French follow next as the- most numerous 
body of inhabitants, and are settled chiefly at Ariehat/ 
Petit de Grat, Megaree and Cheticad. Numbers o£ 
Irish, who in the first instance generally emigrated to; 
Newfoundland, are scattered among the settlers, and a> 
few English, Jerseymen, and Dutch are mixed with the 5 
inhabitants. A few Mie Mac Indians wander through 
the country and along the shores, and they have also a 
rallying point at the East Arm of the Bras d'Or, where 
they meet during summer, and where two or three 
families remain nearly stationary. ; V : 

From the want of roads, and the consequent diffi- 
culty of travelling, that intercourse which is so com- 
mon in Canada, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward 
Island, between the inhabitants of one settlement and 
another, does not exist in Cape Breton j nor is there 
yet the same facility of having children instructed in 
the rudiments of education, and society is at the same 
time in a more simple state than in any of the other 
colonies. The inhabitants, especially the Acadians, 
and Scotch and Irish Catholics, adhere to the tenets of 
the faith which has descended to them from their fore- 
fathers, and have the service of their church performed 
in almost all the settlements by priests educated in 


Canada. There can scarcely be said' to be any station- 
ary clergymen of other persuasions, except at Sidney. 
Presbyterian, and more commonly Methodist preachers, 
go occasionally among the inhabitants to preach and 

The colony being now however a component part 
of the province of Nova Scotia, begins already to feel 
the advantage of the connexion. The benefits of 
instruction may- in a few years be received in every 
part of the island; travelling by land through the 
country will also in a short period be rendered less 
difficult ; and as the country becomes more populously 
settled, the inhabitants will improve in their mode of 
husbandry, change. their habits of living gradually, and 
become more industrious and ambitious to have their 
houses neatly built, as well as comfortably furnished : 
neither of which is at present generally the case, 
although it is well ascertained that nothing but indus- 
try and. good management is required to enable them 
to obtain all the necessaries of life. Contented how- 
ever to exist as their progenitors did, they seem care- 
less of living in a more cleanly and respectable style. 
One circumstance, which is indeed satisfactory, is, that 
neither beggary, nor the want of necessary meat and 
clothing can be discovered on the island. 

The general character of the people is honest and 
hospitable ; but not without exceptions, and many of 
the inhabitants about the Gut of Canso, and in the 
vicinity of the North Cape, are considered as infamous 
characters. as any who exist unpunished. These were 


probably the most worthless people in the countries 
they came from, and living here until the last few years 
almost without the bounds of justice, their principles 
are not likely to have undergone any favourable change. 
The varieties of fishes which abound .in the seas 
surrounding Cape Breton, are of the same kind as 
those already described, as are also the birds, reptiles, 
and wild animals^ with the addition of the moose, or 
American elk, and the porcupine. Elks were formerly 
numerous, but are now, from the great destruction 
of these animals by the Indians, only found in the more 
remote parts of the island. 

The town of Sidney, formerly the residence of the 
Lieutenant Governor, and now the county town, is 
situated at the east part of the island, and on the south 
side of Dartmouth River, about two miles above its 
junction with the west arm of Sidney or Spanish Bay. 
Its harbour is of easy and safe access, and the water 
deep enough for the largest vessels. Its principal 
trade is in exporting coal to Halifax, with a trifling fish* 
ing, and shipping a few cargoes of timber occasionally 
to England. Some troops are still stationed here, 
whose service, if required, would be of little effect ; 
the number being no more than a detachment of twenty 
or thirty under the command of a subaltern officer. 
The population of Sidney, including its immediate 
neighbourhood, does not exceed, if it equals, 1000; 
and the surrounding country must become populously 
settled before this town increases much in size. 

Its situation is certainly not the most judiciously 


selected for the principal town in the colony, although 
it is sufficiently so with respect to .the fishery. The 
coal trade however will always support it as a town ; 
although a more flourishing one should spring up in 
another part of the island. 

Arichat is situated on the island of Madame, which 
is divided by a narrow strait, called Lennox Passage, 
from Cape Breton. It lies near the south entrance of 
the Gut of Canso f opposite Cranberry Island, on which 
there is a lighthouse. Its harbour is safely sheltered, 
and has a sufficient depth of water for the largest ships. 
The population of this place is considerable, and con- 
sists principally of Acadian French, who are engaged 
in the fisheries. The soil of this island is thin and 
rocky, yet the inhabitants derive essential advantage 
from what it produces. The fishery is conducted here 
to an important extent, and several cargoes are annu- 
ally exported to Spain, Portugal, to the countries with- 
in the Mediterranean, and to the West Indies and 
Halifax. The mercantile houses who support the 
fisheries, with two or three exceptions, are managed by 
people from Guernsey or Jersey. It is a port of entry, 
under that of Halifax. 

The Gut ofCanso is a narrow strait which detaches 
Cape Breton from the Continent of America. The 
passage from the Atlantic to its southern entrance 
leads between Cape Canso and Green Island, across 
Chedebucto Bay. Its length from Sandy point to Cape 
Jack is about 21 miles, and its breadth about a mile. 
There are several places within it, where ships may 


anchor with safety and be sheltered from all winds : 
of these, Ship Harbour is the best. The features of 
the scenery on each side of this extraordinary strait 
are unusually grand and mountainous, and stretch 
and rise into the utmost extent of romantic boldness. 
As it is considered the most convenient as well as the 
safest passage to and from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
ships, brigs, and a variety of small vessels, under sail 
or at anchor, mingle incessantly, during summer and 
autumn, with the agreeable wildness of its picturesque 
sublimity. The mountains are covered with trees to 
their summits ; rocks jut out from the banks ; habita- 
tions are thinly scattered near the shores on each side, 
where the lands have also been partially cleared and 
cultivated. At Ship Harbour and near Plaister Paris 
Cove,, are two or three fishing plantations or depots for 
salt, fishing tackle, &e.j and stores for receiving dry 
and pickled fish. 

Should steajn packets be established between 
Europe and feritish America, as was projected in 
1824, the Gut of Caiiso, and not Cape Canso, 
ought to be the nucleus of communication, on the 
American side. The objections against Cape Canso 
are, that its harbour, which is formed by several 
Islands surrounded with ledges and rocks, is often 
dangerous to approach, and the country within so 
much broken up with rocks and water, that there is 
scarcely a possibility, except at an expense. that would 
ever be objectionable, of making roads from the place 


of landing, on the main land of Nova Scotia, to other 
parts of America. For a fishery, indeed, Cape Canso 
harbour is admirably adapted, and it had considerable 
fishing establishments previous to the first American 
war ; but it does not possess the eminent advantages 
of the Gut of Cahso for a rallying point of communi- 
cation to alt parts of America. Vessels from Quebec 
and all places within the Gulf of St. Lawrence, pass 
through the Gut in their passage to and from the 
West Indies, and to different parts of North and 
South America. Ships sailing from Europe from the 
lower parts in the Gulf generally prefer the passage 
of. Canso; and through it the United States 1 vessels 
engaged in the fisheries enter and return. A carriage 
road might also, at the usual expense, be made 
from the Nova Scotia side of the Gut, to Truro at 
the head of the Bay of Fundy; from whence roads 
diverge to Halifax, Pictou, and to New Bruns- 
wick J tohich may from the last place, be continued 
to Canada. Lastly, the Gut of Canso is of safe access, 
and may be approached without the apprehension of 

Until the population, however, of Cape Breton, 
Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick 
and the lower division of Canada, increases to double 
the present number, my opinion is, (especially while 
sailing vessels carry out passengers and goods at the 
present low rates) that the probable proceeds which 
might arise from passengers and freights, would not 


be equal to the expense of establishing and supporting 
a line of steam packets between Europe and 

Jnsta Corp Harbour lies 18 miles North of the Gut 
of Canso, and is formed by an Island and a jutting 
point of land, which shelter it from all winds : this 
place is well situated for fishing, and the lands in its 
neighbourhood are tolerably good, particularly for 
pasturage. The inhabitants are thinly scattered along 
the sea coast. 

Chetican and Megaree are harbours for small 
schooners and shallops, on the Gulf Coast, the in* 
habitants of whieh are Acadian French, who live by 
pursuing the cod, herring, and seal fisheries, together 
with wrecking; at which last occupation, in eonse 
quence of the frequent shipwrecks about the entrance 
of the Gulf during the spring and fall, for several years, 
they are as expert as the Bermudians, or the people of 
the Bahamas. 

The Bras d'or, (Golden Arm) or as it is more com- 
monly designated the Bras d'or Lake, enters Cape 
Breton from the Atlantic, a few miles north of 
Sydney, and penetrates through the Island, branching 
in its way into numerous bays, rivers and creeks, so 
as to divide the island nearly in two, there being litfle 
more than a mile between its west arm and the bay of 
St. Peter, on the Atlantic. 

There is an Island, called Borafractie, 18 miles 
long, situated so as to form two entrances to the Bras 
d'or. The northern passage is the safer, within which 


it Little Bras d'or, and further up still is the Great 
Bras d'or. This lake is in many parts 40 fathoms 
deep, and abounds with safe harbours ; the surround- 
ing country is mountainous, and the scenery, which 
is of a sublime character, exhibits the sombre gloom 
of pine forests, the luxuriant verdure of broad and 
deep valleys, and the picturesque wildness of lofty 
promontories, which frown in stubborn ruggedness 
over the waters of the lake. 

St. Peter's Bay and settlement are situated to the 
east of Lenox Passage. The French called this place 
Port Thoulouse, and to it the Indians of Acadia and 
Cape Breton brought their furs to exchange for Euro- 
pean commodities. The distance across the Isthmus 
between the head of this bay and the Bras d'or lake 
is about a mile. It was surveyed under the direction 
of government by a civil engineer, Mr. Hall, (in 1824) 
from whose report it appears that there would be little 
difficulty in making a canal communication between 
all parts of the Bras d'or and the Atlantic through 
this neck of land. Numberless advantages to Cape 
Breton would result from the completion of such an 
undertaking, and St. Peter's would then become the 
centre of intercourse with the whole Island. 

People frequently going and coming between 
different places within the Bras d'or, and Nova Scotia 
and Prince Edward Island, haul their boats with horses 
or oxen across this portage, and the Indians carry 
their bark canoes over it on their heads. 


Agriculture holds, generally speaking, but a second- 
ary place in the consideration of the inhabitants of 
Cape Breton. The settlers, it may. be admitted, at the 
north west arm of the Bras d'or, at River Denny, 
and at a few other places, subsist principally by culti- 
vating the soil and rearing cattle and sheep ; but the 
population must increase very much before the farmers 
will abandon the propensity, so common in America, 
of dabbling in pursuits unconnected with agriculture, 
such as fishing, hewing timber, building schooners, 

The Acadian French leave the cultivation of the soil 
in a great measure to the management of their wives, 
daughters, and younger sons. The men follow fishing, 
or employ themselves in carrying freights coastwise in 
their schooners and shallops. These vessels are built 
more for the purpose of sailing fast than for carrying 
large cargoes ; they are slightly constructed, little iron 
being used for the fastenings, nor do they consider one 
fourth part of the cordage necessary that is required in 
vessels of the same size rigged in England. They 
have only three sails, frequently but one cable, and 
nothing in the shape of spare rope or sails, in 
case of accidents, notwithstanding which they are 
often out in heavy gales, in which they make, accord- 
ing to the sailors 9 phrase, good weather ofit> and they 
are scarcely ever shipwrecked. 

The fisheries have hitherto been the source from 
which the inhabitants have obtained the means of sub- 
sistence, as well as the most valuable branch of com- 
mercial importance. 


This trade might be carried on to any extent, bat 
it is doubtful whether the merchants could meet the 
Americans and French on equal terms in foreign 
markets, A few cargoes of timber have been for some 
years shipped annually from Sydney and from har- 
bours within the Bras d'or to England. The ships 
that took out emigrants, brought back cargoes of 
timber. Some large vessels have also been built oa 
this Island, but the present low value of shipping will 
arrest the further progress of this business. Plaister 
of Paris has been exported from the Gut of Canso to 
the United States of America, and live cattle occasion- 
ally sent to Newfoundland. 

If Louisbourg had not been demolished, it is very 
probable that Cape Breton would at this time have 
been a populous and flourishing colony. To the 
levelling of that town and fortress may justly be attri- 
buted the oblivion which has so long enveloped Cape 

To Great Britain however its possession is of the 
greatest importance. The naval power of the French 
began to decline from the time they were driven out of 
the fisheries ; and the Americans of the United States 
would consider Cape Breton a boon more valuable to 
them as a nation than any of our West India Islands 
would be. Did they but once obtain it as a fishing sta- 
tion, their navy would in a few years, I fear have suffi- 
cient physical strength to cope with any power in 
Europe, not even excepting England. Let not the 


British Nation therefore lose sight of this colony. 
It is capable of supporting a population of from one to 
three hundred thousand.* Particular care however 
should be taken to render the inhabitants readily 
effective as a militia to defend the colony in the event 
of its being attacked. 

If Cape Breton weie once populously settled, the 
inhabitants would adhere to certain regular pursuits, 
the farmers would follow agriculture alone ; the fisher- 
men would at the same time find it advantageous to 
persevere in fishing, as the pursuit in which, by habit 
and experience, they had acquired the most knowledge. 
The farmers would in case of need form an effective 
militia : the fishermen hardy and dauntless seamen. 

• The present population, including Arichat, is not more 
than 17 to 18,000. 

&ftetc$e0 of Nrtm' &cotto* 

. CHAP. XI. 

Boundaries. . .Superfices. . .Local advantages. . . Mines. . .Board of 
Agriculture. . .Productions of the Soil. . .Population. . .Condi- 
tion of the Free Negroes... Constitution... Courts of Law... 
» Religion. . .Education. . .Character of its Governors. 

xhis Province, previous to 1763, comprehended 
all the territories situated between the River St. Croix 
and the Bay des Chaleurs ; and, after*the peace of that 
year, the Islands of St. John and Cape Breton were 
added. In 1770, the first of these Islands was 
separated from Nova Scotia, and shortly after the 
treaty of 1783, it was reduced, by dividing from it 
Ne.w Brunswick and Cape Breton, to the Peninsula, 
which may be termed Nova Scotia proper, lying to the 
south of a -line drawn from the head pf the Bay de 
Vert, a branch of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to Cum- 
berland Basin, an arm of the Bay of Fundy. Cape 
Breton has been again in 1820 re-annexed. ' 

Nova Scotia lies within the latitudes of 43° and 46? 
north, and the longitudes of 41° and 67° west. Its 
length is about 320 miles, and its average breadth • 
about 70 miles. Its computed superficies, exclusive 
of Cape Breton, 15,500 square miles; from which, • 
nearly one-third may be deducted for lakes, arms of 
the sea, and rivers, leaving about 7,000,000 acres of 
land ; 5,000,000 of which may be considered capable 
4 of cultivation. A great proportion of these lands is 
still vacant, and in the hands of the Crown.* 

♦ See Note H. Appendik. 


The Atlantic coast of Nova Sctitfa, from Cape 
Canso to Cape Sabl#, is pierced with innumerable 
small bays, harbours tfnd ttvfers. The shores are lined 
<wfth tocto* and tboasetads of Islands $ and, although 
"Aie land is no where high, and there are but few steep 
cliffs, yet «the -aspect of the whole is exceedingly 
rpicturesque, and the scenery in many places beautiful. 
The landscape, which the head of Mahon Bay in par- 
ticular presents,. eannot be surpassed. 

There is deep water, almost without exception, 
close to the rocks and Islands, and -into the harbours. 
Light houses have been erected along the coast. The 
eastern-most is on a small Island off Cape Canso ; one 
on a rock off Sambro head, at the entrance of Halifax ; 
one at the entrance of Liverpool ; and another at Cape 
Sable. The coasting vessels sail among, and within 
the myriads of Islands that line the coast, during the 
most blustering weather, and thus have the advantage 
of passing along in smooth water, while there is a heavy 
sea running in the main ocean. 

As the sea coast of Nova Scotia is that which 
necessarily presented itself to the first discoverers, and 
to those who afterwards visited the country, with the 
view of planting, or settling it ; and as it must also be 
admitted, that its aspect, particularly on the Atlantic 
side, is barren, stoney, and apparently incapable of 
cultivation, it was altogether without due investiga- 
tion from its first discovery, until within the last eighty 
or ninety years, condemned as a country unfit for 
agriculture, cursed with a humid and most incle- 

nova seeviA. 133 

• ♦ 

men! climate, and unworthy of any consideration, ex- 
cept for the purpose of. trading with the savage for 

To account for the wrong opinions which indivi- 
duals at first, and even a whole nation afterwards, form 
of new countries, we roust conetodf that tbey decided, 
from ignorance, or were blessed by prejudice* Thus 
Nova Scotia, which undoubtedly possesses advantages, 
when combined together, paramount to> those of Cana- 
da, was long considered both by England and France 
of no important value. In the first place, the position 
of this colony in respect to its trade with Europe, the 
West Indies, and other parts of the world, with its 
excellent harbours, and its abundant fisheries, will ever 
secure to it a decided advantage over the Canadas. 
Its climate, although more humid, is also much milder 
than that of Canada, and the winter two months 
shorter. Mines of coal, iron, copper, a^d other miner- 
als abound in Nova Scotia, which will very probaUy 
be soon brought into profitable operation by the 
« Albion Mining Company," who have now skilful 
engineers, artificers and miners actively engaged in 
working them. This colony produces also, especially 
in the interior, great plenty of wood for «hip building, 
joiner work, &c. and the soil is capable of yielding 
more than a sufficient quantity of green and white 
<oreps for the support of the inhabitants* The country 
is admirably adapted for the breeding of sheep, and 
although the climate in winter is colder thap ip Jjjng- 
land > yet when the weather is cold <H ss usually dry : 


* maoy tracts of land also that are too storey for cultiva- 
tion afford tolerable pasturage. The horses of Nova 
' Scotia are seldom* large, but hardy and full of spirit : 
the breed however is improving fast. Black cattle 
thrive well, and the beef and mutton are usually very 
, good. Pigs and poultry may be raised in abundant 
numbers. Wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, turnips, and 
vegetables yield bountiful returns. Apples equal to any 
produced in the United States grow in. many parts of 
the province, and wild vines covering several acres have 
lately been discovered near Digby. In 1817, Soon 
after the appointment of the Earl of Dalhousie to the 
government, a provincial board of agriculture was 
formed at Halifax, and several societies in connexion 
with it were formed in the districts. The, object of 
'this establishment is the encouragement of agriculture, 
and improving the breeds of horses, black cattle, sheep, 
hogs,j&c: importing the best seeds; awarding prizes 
for the best acres of green and white crops ; and also 
to those who excel at ploughing matches, &c. Under 
such encouragement the agriculture of Nova Scotia 
has flourished beyond all precedent. The Scottish 
system of husbandry has, at least so far as it can be 
applied in connexion with the nature of the country 
and climate, been very generally adopted and followed.* 

* Much of the merit of establishing the board of agriculture 
is due to Mr. John Young, formerly of Glasgow ; but now residing 
at Halifax, and one of the Members of the Assembly. He first 
roused the attention of the province to the cultivation of its soil, 
by his numerous letters signed " Agricola," published in the 
" Acadian Recorder," and since printed in a large octavo volume. 
These letters are written with great ability, and abound with 
scientific and practical information,* 

* NOVA SCOTIA. 125 * 

. The population of the province was, in 1817* ac-* * 
cording to a census taken J>y order of the EarJ of 
Dalhousie, 78,345 ; but this account has been con- 
sidered extremely inaccurate, and : the population at 
present (1827) is rated, exclusive of Cape Breton, 
at 126,000 to 130,000, consisting of English, Scotch, 
Irish, Germans, Dutch, French Acadians, American 
Loyalists, and the descendants of those who have 
settled at different periods in the colony. The 
Scotch, in a numerical scale, predominate, and are 
principally settled in the district of Pictou, at the 
Gut of Canso, Antigonishe Bay, arid along the coast and 
harbours of the straits of Northumberland, and also more 
or less in every part of the province. The principal 
part of the English population is in Halifax ; a small 
proportion only is to be found in the settlements/ 
The Irish settlers are mingled among the others all 
over the country. The American loyalists, with the 
exception of their first settlement, at Shelburne, 
appear to have selected the best spots in the colony : 
they certainly had the advantage, at the time, of 
riiaking a choice of situation, and they understood 
doing so better than emigrants from Europe. The 
Germans are not numerous, but are always distinguish- 
ed by their industry and economy* The Acadian French, 
who always settle in groups, have villages at Cumber- 
land, at Chizencook, at Tusket, at Clare and at 
Harbour Bushe, near the Gut of Canso. 

Slavery does not exist in Nova Scotia : the num- 
ber of free negroes may be equal to 1500 ; part of 
whom came from the West India Islands, others from 


* the United States, and the residue were born in .the 
province. A settlement was laid out, a few miles 
from Halifax, for these people, and every facility 
afforded them, by the provincial government, yet 
they are still in a state of miserable poverty ; while 
Europeans, who have settled on wood-lands, under 
circumstances scarcely so favourable, thrive with few 
exceptions. Whether the wretchedness of these ne- 
groes may be attributed to servitude and degradation 
having extinguished in them the spirit that endures 
present difficulties and privations, in order to attain 
future advantages ; or to the consciousness that they 
are an unimportant and distinct race, in a country 
where they feel that they must ever remain a separate 
people ; or, that they find it more congenial to their 

* habits to serve others, either as domestic servants, or 
labourers, by which they make sure of the wants of 
the day, certain it is that they prefer servitude, and 
generally live more comfortably in this condition, than 
they usually do when working on their own account. 
I do not, by this observation, mean to inculcate the 
revolting doctrine, that slavery is the most happy 
state in which the unfortunate negroes in the West 
Indies and America can live j but I am certainly of 
opinion, that, unless they are gradually prepared for 
personal liberty, they will, on obtaining their freedom, 
become objects of greater commiseration than they 
now are in a state of bondage ; and the condition of 
the free negroes in Nova Scotia will fuUy substantiate 
this assertion. 

The constitution of Nona Scotia m the same as 



that of all royal representative governments in British 
America* The legislature consists of three estates, 
representing king, ldrds and commons. The governor, 
who represents his majesty, has very extensive powers : 
he is commander in chief of the regular forces and 
militia within his government: he is chancellor of . 
the court of chancery : can extend the king's pardon 
to criminal offenders. He presides in the court of 
error; summons the provincial assembly; nominates 
the high sheriff, and justices of peace ; suspends officers 
of the crown; grants licences for marriages, and 
probates of wills. Ae is also vice-admiral within the 
limits of his government. The members of council 
«re appointed by the governor, and die members of the 
legislative assembly are elected by the people* 

The supreme court of judicature is modelled after 
the court of King's Bench ; the practice of which is 
strictly adhered to, both in criminal and civil matters. 
The chief jusfioe i* paid by government ; the assistant 
judges out of the colonialtreasury. The jurisdiction 
of this court expends to all parts of the province. 
The practice of the court of chancery is also the same 
as in England; and, although the governors, who are 
chancellors of this court in aH the colonies, are gener- 
ally unacquainted with law, or with chancery practice ; 

* When the election for two members to .represent Cape 
Breton took place, Mr. Cavannah, one of those returned, being a 
Roman Catholic, and the ease being novel in Nova Scotia, much 
. Was said on the subject of his Tight to sit. t He retains .however, 
his seat very deservedly, agreeable to the wish of the assembly^ 
and I believe with the full approbation of the governor. 


• * 

yet, from deciding according to what appears to them 
to be just, on the rational prinpiples of right and 
wrong; there is no doubt bat thfeir conclusions are as 
often correct as those of the lord chancellor would be. 

There is also a court of common pleas, the juris- 
diction of which does not extend further than the 
country, nor to criminal matters. Magistrates take 
cognizance of breaches of the peace, and of matters of 
debt not exceeding five pounds : appeals from the 
inferior courts may be made to the supreme court ; 
from thence to the governor and council, who compose 
a court of error and appeal, and from thence to Eng- 
land. In eaeh county there is also a court of session, 
similar to those in England. The court of admiralty 
has, since the last war, become little more than the 
shadow of a court. 

The bankrupt laws do not* extend to the colonies, 
nor is there in Nova Scotia any law which affords an 
unfortunate debtor the release which is so easily, 
obtained in England. A provincial law, however, 
called' the u Insolvent debtors' 'act/' generally relieves 
a debtor, if no fraud be discovered. A law, which 
enables a creditor to attack property before he obtains 
a judgment of court, has been severely complained of. 
It has certainly enabled merchants and others to obtain 
payment of debts justly due to them, and which they 
otherwise might never have recovered ; but such a law 
gives often to a bad character too much power over 
the property of an honest man. All oyer America 
there is too frequent recurrence to law, the people fly 
to litigation on the most trivial occasion : they are 


inveigled into law suits by low attorneys ; and there 
is nothing that tends more to destroy the dignity of 
the courts, than admitting without much scruple, as 
an attorney and barrister, any one who has been five 
years an articled clerk to an attorney practising in the 
province. By this system a mere amanuensis is placed 
on a par with gentlemen of extensive legal learning 
and experience. Next to the cheapness and abundance 
of ardent spirits, what is called " law" is the bane of 
all North America, both, as respects the British colonies 
and the United States. 

At the bar of the courts of Nova Scotia, a very 
fair share of rhetorical talent and legal knowledge is 
conspicuous; but there are too many members of the 
profession : one-third the n umber, which would probably 
include all the men of abilities, would be quite sufficient; 
and by their having a sufficient share of business, ini- 
quitous and trifling cases would be rejected, and the 
country gradually purged of a ruinous system of litiga- 
tion. The fees of the lawyers are by no means high ; they 
are rather low, even on the simple principle that " the 
labourer is worthy of his hire," and this cheap law 
is in itself a great evil, inasmuch, as it encourages 
many to litigate that otherwise would not; and 
who do not take the value of their time into the 

The Church of England in this province is sup- 
ported by the Society for propagating the Christian 
Religion. The clergy, about thirty in number, are 


under the controul of a bishop, styled the bishop of Nova 
Scotia, who has also under his jurisdiction the clergy 
of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfound- 
land, and Bermuda. One-fourth of the population are 
Roman Catholics, who are likewise under the care of a 
bishop. The church of Scotland properly so called, has 
only a few clergymen in the colony ; but the Presby- 
terian seceders, the great body of which are settled in. 
the district of Pictou, have a provincial church govern- 
ment of their own. Methodists are numerous all over 
the province, and a few other sects are also met with* 
Religious or fanatical animosities never interfere with 
the peace of society j nor is the neighbourly kindness 
so general among the inhabitants ever disturbed by 
spiritual discord. 

What, more than any other circumstance, places 
Nova Scotia in the most meritorious point of view, is> 
that the benefits of education are established on a 
sure and liberal foundation. Amidst all the active 
engagements of the inhabitants, in occupations of which 
wealth is the sole object, they have not neglected to 
cultivate the field of learning. It is a matter of doubt, 
whether more general and useful knowledge, among 
a whole people, can be discovered in any country, 
than is found to prevail in this province : many of 
those born and educated in it have distinguished 
themselves in different parts of the world; and the 
young men of the present day possess, in an eminent 
degree, a ready power of comprehension, a remarkably 


clear knowledge of the general business of life, and 
the art of adapting themselves to the circumstances of 
any situation in which chance or direction may place 

Much of the prosperity of this colony is certainly 
due to the careful provision that has been made for 
the education of youth. At the bar, and in the 
pulpit \ as merchants, or as private gentlemen; we 
discover the natives of Nova Scotia with few ex- 
ceptions to be men of superior attainments. 

The seminaries of education are on a more respect* 
able footing than in any of the British American 
colonies. On an elevated and beautiful spot of ground, 
a short distance from Windsor, and 40 miles by a 
good carriage road, west from Halifax, stands the 
University of King's College. It has a royal charter* 
dated 1802, which gives to it all the privileges that 
are enjoyed by the Universities of Great Britain and 
Ireland. It is liberally endowed : the archbishop of 
Canterbury is its patron, and the governor, chief 
justice, judge of the court of vice admiralty, the bishop 
of Nova Scotia, the president, the speaker of the house 
of assembly, the attorney general, the solicitor general, 
and the secretary of the province, compose ex-officio, 
a board of governors. The course of studies is, 

Greek and Latin Classics, Natural Philosophy, 

Hebrew, Metaphysics* 

Ethics, History, Geography and 
Logic, Chronology, 

Rhetoric, Mathematics, 


Astronomy, General Jurisprudence ; 

Botany, Political Science. 


Materia Medica, and the practice of Medicine. 

There is a water communication between Windsor 
and New Brunswick, and that province sends a great 
proportion of the students to the college* The situa- 
tion of King's College has been judiciously selected, in 
a central point of the province, and in a beautiful and 
pleasant part of the country, which has a dry and 
salubrious climate. I have been informed, that since 
the first opening of the institution, no instance of 
fatal sickness has occurred among the students. 

A very respectable academy, built of free stone, 
and called the " Collegiate School," stands within the 
college grounds. The system of instruction at this 
seminary corresponds with the course of studies at the 
college ; and this institution is in a very prosperous 
condition, having a numerous attendance of scholars 
from New Brunswick and other places, as well as 
natives of Nova Scotia. 

In 1S20, a handsome stone building, called "Dal- 
housie College/' was built at Halifax; and near 
^ 10,000 invested in the funds, for the support of its 
professors. Its constitution is, I believe, nearly the 
same as that of the University of Edinburgh. 

In 1811, grammar schools were established by an 
act of the provincial legislature, and £ 150, to be paid 


out of the colonial treasury,' voted annually to the 
master of each school. By another act, passed the same 
year, £ 2b was granted to every settlement of thirty 
families, for supporting a school, subject however to a 
proviso, that the settlement raised also a sum, not less 
than £b0 for the same purpose. 

There is at Pictou, besides a very respectable 
grammar school, an institution called " Pictou Col- 
lege," founded by the Rev. Dr. M'CulIoch, of the 
same place. It is not confined to any particular class; 
but I believe the principal students are persons de- 
signed for ministers of the Presbyterian Secession 
Church in America.* 

There is in Halifax, besides several other schools, 
one named " The Acadian School," under the able 
superintendence of Mr. Bromley. In this seminary the 
scholars are instructed according to the Lancastrian 
system: since its first establishment in 18 IS, nearly 
two thousand scholars of both sexes have been taught 
reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, and geography. 
Utility is the great object of instruction at this school : 
the girls are taught every kind of needle-work, and 
the arts of carding, spinning, knitting, and dressiqg 
wool and flax. 

Nova Scotia has been peculiarly fortunate in having 
the administration of its government entrusted to great 

* Dr. M'Culloch is a gentleman who has distinguished himself 
by his controversial writings. He is certainly a man of very ex- 
tensive learning, and a writer of great abilities, either in a serious 
or humorous style. 


and good men. It was long before the real advantages 
of the colony were known; while the most disheartening 
and forbidding objects were exhibited to the new 
settlers, who were in general unacquainted with wilder- 
ness countries ; but who at the same time must have 
possessed more than common perseverance in main- 
taining themselves, and in surmounting not 'only real 
but imaginary difficulties. Immediately after the 
independence of the United States was acknowledged, 
Nova Scotia received an accession of American loyalists 
as settlers, who may be said, with much truth, to have 
laid the foundation of its prosperity. These men 
brought along with them correct principles, industri- 
ous habits, large sums of money, vessels, merchandize, 
cattle, furniture, &c; and many of them being re- 
spectable and intelligent gentlemen, the courts of justice, 
and the legislature, were thus better filled up than in 
most new colonies. 

Sir George Provost was, however, the first governor 
who had sufficient penetration to observe the real 
importance of Nova Scotia ; or, at least, he was the 
first who had the abilities to direct the application of 
its resources into proper channels. He introduced 
order into the public departments ; established schools 
in the townships ; carried into successful operation a 
new style of training the militia ; founded that superb 
edifice the province building ; had new roads opened, 
and the old ones repaired and improved ; and extended, 
to the utmost his power and talents to the encourage- 
ment of the agriculture, trade, and fisheries of the 


Sir John Coape Sherbrooke succeeded himin 1814, 
and with equal judgment, and with perhaps still 
greater abilities, governed the province during the 
American war, and until 1817* His administration 
was altogether distinguished by great and useful 
measures : no man's integrity could be more inflexible, 
nor could any one be more indefatigable in all public 

On his promotion to the office of commander id 
chief in America, he was succeeded by the Earl of 
Dalhousie. JJis lordship held the government until 
1820, when he was in his turn appointed to succeed 
Sir John Coape Sherbrooke as governor . general. 
His administration was exceedingly agreeable to the 
people of Nova Scotia, and his conciliating, amiable, 
and benevolent disposition made him beloved by all 
who approached him: the amiable virtues of the 
Countess of Dalhousie will also be long remembered 
with lively respect by the inhabitants of Halifax, 

Sir James Kempt was appointed to succeed his 
lordship, and still holds the government of the pro- 
vince. He is considered to be better acquainted with, 
and enters more into, business in detail than any of 
his predecessors. Since bis appointment, the agri- 
culture and trade of the province have maintained a 
regular and prosperous progress ; and various under- 
takings, connected either with the internal improve- 
ment of the colony, the encouragement of agriculture, 
or with whatever may be beneficial to the commerce 
of the country, have been accomplished, or are in 


The people of Nova Scotia have, perhaps, more 
than those of any other British Colony, united with 
their governors in the undertaking and accomplishing 
of every measure of public utility; and to this circum- 
stance, no doubt, may in a great measure be ascribed 
the absence of political difficulties, and the harmony 
for which this province may be so justly distinguished. 

The Earl of Dalhousie, who is at present involved 
in such unpleasant difficulties with the legislature of 
Canada, governed Nova Scotia without trouble to him- 
self, and to the satisfaction of the people. 

Nota &cotia* 


Description of Halifax.. .Its Trade.. . .Society.. . .Amusements, &c. 

On the south east coast of Nova Scotia, and neatly 
at an equal distance from its extreme points, Halifax 
harbour enters the province. It is at all seasons 
accessible, and its navigation scarcely ever interrupted 
by ice. On a small Island, off Sarhbro Head, on the 
west side of the entrance, stands a light-house; and 
the harbour is not only safe to approach, but from 
having sufficient width to work a ship against a con- 
trary wind, easy to enter : the water is deep enough for 
the largest ship in the navy, and there is abundance 
of room for anchorage. Packets now sail once a 
month from Falmouth direct to Halifax, the advan- 
tage of which is of great importance to all North 
America. Until the present year, the destination of 
thcwinter packets was Bermuda. The entrance lead- 
ing from the Atlantic to the harbour is between 
Sambro Head and Devil's Island. There are two 
Islands still further in : on the smallest of these, 
which is nearly opposite the tbwn, there are batteries 
strongly mounted : several other fortifications command 
the harbour. The passage to the harbour on the east 
of the Island is that which admits ships of the largest 
description ; the other on the west has water only for 


The appearance of Halifax from the water, or from 
he opposite shore, is prepossessing and peculiar. 
The front of the town is lined with wharves, alongside 
of which, vessels of all sizes are observed discharging 
or loading their cargoes. Warehouses rise over, the 
wharves as well as in different parts of the town, and 
the dwelling houses and public buildings rise gradually 
over each other. The town clock, fixed in a build- 
ing erected solely for the purpose, and standing near 
the summit of the hill over the town ; a rotunda built 
church ; the signal posts on the bill ; the spires ; the 
variety of style in which the houses are built, some of 
which painted white, some blue, and some red, others 
of brick or stone, intermixed with the wooden houses; 
rows of trees shewing themselves in a few places ; the 
scenery of the back ground; the merchant vessels 
either alongside the wharves or at anchor; His Majesty's, 
ships moored opposite the dock yard ; and the small 
town of Dartmouth on the eastern shore, are the 
objects which strike most forcibly into the view of a 
stranger when sailing up the harbour. The town of 
Halifax is built on the declivity of a hill, which rises 
gradually from the water on the west side of the harbour. 
In length it is rather more than two miles, and some- 
thing less than half a mile in breadth. The streets are 
regular, crossing generally at right angles, and of 
sufficient width ; but that only next the water is paved : 
the others however, from the ascent and nature of the 
ground, are 'usually dry; but in summer, the dust, which 
is often whirled furiously along by the winds, is exceed- 


ingly disagreeable. The number of dwelling houses 
are estimated at about 1,500, and the population, ex- 
clusive of the military, about 12,000. 

The houses are very irregularly built, some being 
one, some two, some three, and a few four stories 
high. • Handsome stone buildings, and good brick 
houses, are built and furnished in the same manner as in 
England : some of the houses built of wood are large 
and handsome, with the exterior painted white, and 
the inside lathed, plastered, and papered in the same 
style as stone or brick houses. Fires have at different 
times destroyed very many of the old wooden build- 
ings ; and, although individuals were, in consequence, 
subjected to great loss and inconvenience, yet, the 
town from having stone or brick houses built on the 
Site of the former wooden ones, has been materially 
improved. As there is deep water within a short dis- 
tance of the shore, the wharves answer all the purposes 
of docks. About a mile above the upper end of the 
town the harbour becomes narrow, but again widens 
into a magnificent sheet of water, called Bedford 
Basin ; the surrounding scenery of which, although 
not highly romantic, is agreeably and beautifully 
varied. On the west side of this basin the late" Duke 
of Kent, when Commander in Chief in North America, 
erected a handsome residence, with corresponding out- 
houses, offices, &c: the grounds, naturally beautiful, 
he laid out with much taste. The road to Windsor, 
from which the great western road branches off, leads 
past this place. 


At the south end of the town is situated the 
" Government House/' so named from being the 
residence of the Lieutenant Governor. The appear- 
ance of this structure is neither elegant nor imposing : 
the stone of which it is built, although tolerably well 
polished, is of a sombre colour, which imparts a 
gloomy and rather antique character to the building. . 

The most splendid edifice in North America is the 
iC Provincial Building" of Nova Scotia. It stands 
nearly in the centre of Halifax, in the middle of a 
square, which is neatly inclosed with iron railing. 
■. The size of this superb building is at present certainly 
too great for the province; but it must be considered 
built for posterity, as well as for the present day; 
and that it is situated in the metropolis of a country, 
the population of which is multiplying fast. The 
length of the province building is 140 feet, breadth 70 
feet, and the height of the wall 45 feet. Its plan com- 
bines elegance, with strength and utility. The 
columns are of the Ionic order, and the beautiful free- 
stone, quarried in the province, of which it is built, is 
finely polished. It contains chambers for the council 
and legislative assembly; the supreme court with its 
appendant offices ; and also, all the provincial offices, 
as the Treasurer's, Surveyor General's, Colonial Secre- 
tary's, &c. &c. the Halifax Library, &c. &c. 

The Admiral's house is a plain stone building; 
built in 1819, at the north end of the town, on a 
rising ground, which commands a view of the harbour 
and shipping. It is appropriated for the residence of 


the Admiral, for the time being, commanding the 
squadron on the American station. There is also a 
large wooden building, apparently, uncomfortable, for 
the military commandant. The north and south 
barracks, built also of wood, are extensive enough to 
accommodate three regiments* The other government 
buildings are the Ordnance and Commissarial Stores, 
Naval Hospital, Dock Yard, &c. 

His Majesty's Dock Yard is the most respectable 
establishment of the kind out of England. Its plan 
is extensive, and combines within the stone wall, 
which surrounds it on the land side, all that is useful 
and convenient for repairing and refitting the largest 
ships* Attached to it is the residence of the com- 
missioner ; a respectable-looking house. Never was 
there a more egregious measure entered upon, than 
that of removing the naval stores from Halifax, for. 
the purpose of establishing a dock yard, for the use of 
His Majesty's Ships on the American station at 
Bermuda; the absurdity of which is too palpable* 
not to be seen into at once, by all who have any 
knowledge of both places. Halifax has the best 
harbour in North America, in a healthy climate, 
and in the midst of a country abounding in timber, 
and all . kinds . of provisions, at low prices. The 
Bermuda Islands are little better than a cluster of 
rocks, in the middle of the ocean, of extremely 
dangerous access, covered only in detached spots 
with a scanty soil ; and where, besides the frequently 


unhealthy state of the climate, provisions, and almost 
every thing else, are obtained at exorbitant prices,* 
Natural obstacles of great magnitude must also be 
removed from the site of the dock yard at Bermuda, 
before it can in any respect answer the intended 
purposes. The consequent expence will be enormous. 

The places of worship in Halifax are two Churches 
of the established religion ; one Scotch Kirk ; one 
Presbyterian Meeting House ; one Catholic Chapel. 
The Anabaptists and Methodists have also each a 
Meeting House. There is also a Poor House, and a 
Work House, or House of Correction. In the brick 
building called the Court House, in which cases in the 
court of common pleas are heard, there is also an 
Exchange Room, where the merchants meet. 

Halifax was first settled in the summer of 1749, 
and it has ever since that period continued to be a 
place of considerable importance, not only as a rendez- 
vous for His Majesty's Ships, and as the head quarters 
of the troops on the establishment of the lower 
American provinces, but also as the centre of a 
profitable fishery and trade. 

There are certain points on the face of the globe, 
which, by their, position, seem intended by nature 
for the site of great store houses, or places wherein 

* Few places are more unfit, than Bermuda for a Naval 
hospital. Fresh meat can only be had with great difficulty, at 
any price. I have frequently heard the natives say, that a bit of 
Irish or American ham was a dainty only to be indulged in on 
rare and particular occasions. 


to deposit the 'productions of one country, for the 
purpose of distributing them again to others. With 
respect to British America, Halifax must doubtless 
be considered the best place of deposit to answer 
all general purposes, especially during the winter 
months. There is much activity observed, particularly 
about the wharves and vessels, among all classes con- 
nected or employed in trade. During the last war, 
the vessels and property captured from the enemy on 
the coast of America, were sent into Halifax for con- 
demnation. At . this period money was exceedingly 
abundant ;. every one who possessed common sagacity 
accumulated considerable sums, and Halifax became 
the theatre of incessantly active enterprise, and com- 
mercial speculations. But the merchants and traders, 
as well as others, became at the same time so far intox- 
icated with, or lured by, the gains of the moment, that 
they apparently forgot, or at least did not stop to con- 
sider, that according to the common order of things, 
a change would inevitably take place that would 
speedily destroy the then sources of their wealth. They 
accordingly entered into imprudent speculations, and 
launched into a most splendid style of living. The 
peace crushed both, and opened <their eyes. Since 
then trade has been established on a more regular 
system, and Halifax is, at the present time, in as 
prosperous a condition as any town in America. By 
an order in council, it was in 1817 declared to a 
certain extent a free port. Its principal trade is with 
the West Indies, next to which is its trade with Great 


Britain. Its commerce extends also in a [limited 
degree to the continent of Europe. A company was 
formed to open a trade with the East Indies, one 
voyage to which has been accomplished, with what 
success I have not ascertained. The East India 
company now send a ship annually to Halifax, con- 
signed to the respectable house of S. Cunard and Co. 
There is a considerable trade between Halifax and the 
outports of the province, as well as with the other 
colonies. The outports receive supplies of different 
kinds from Halifax, which are paid in money, fish, 
&c. The enterprising house of Messrs. Cunard has 
made several spirited -trials in the Whale Fishery; 
which, however, have not succeeded as well as might 
be expected, or as their attempts deserved. The exports 
from Halifax consist chiefly of dried Cod-fish, 
pickled Herrings and Mackarel, smoked Herrings, 
Salmon, Coals, Lumber, Staves, Cattle, Butter, Cheese, 
Flour, Oats, Potatoes, &c. to the West Indies ; and, 
of Timber, Fish, Oil, Furs, &c. to Great Britain. The 
imports from the West Indies are Rum, Sugar, Mo- 
lasses, Tobacco, &c.j and from Great Britain, Salt, 
Fishing Tackle, and all sorts of manufactured goods. 
The state of society in Halifax is highly re- 
spectable ; and in proportion to the population, a much 
greater number of well-dressed and respectable-looking 
persons are observed, than in a town of the same size 
in the United Kingdoms. This is indeed peculiar to 
all the towns in America, and may readily be accounted 
for, from there being few manufacturers, or few people 


out of employment, and the labouring classes living 
principally in the country. The officers of the 
Government, and of the Army and Navy, mix very 
generally with the Merchants and Gentlemen of the 
learned professions ; and from this circumstance, the 
first class of society is doubtless more refined than 
might otherwise be expected. The style of living, 
the hours of entertainment, and the fashions, are the 
same as in England. Dress is fully as much attended 
to as in London ; and many of the fashionable sprigs 
who exhibit themselves in the streets of Halifax, and 
indeed in lesser towns in America, might even in 
Bond Street, be said to have arrived at the ne plus 
ultra of dandyism. 

. The amusements of Halifax are such as are usual 
in the other towns in the North American provinces ; 
in all which, assemblies, pic nics, amateur .theatricals, 
riding, shooting, and k fishtng, form the principal 
sources of pleasure. 

The markets are abundantly supplied with all 
kinds of butcher's meat and other eatables ; vegetables 
alone are scarce during winter, and, with the exception 
of Potatoes, Cabbages, Turnips and Carrots, are not 
to be had. The fish market is the best supplied of 
any in America : I have heard it said, of any in the 
world. Fishes of different kinds, and of excellent 
quality, are brought by the boats fresh every morning 
from sea, and none else is suffered to be exposed. 

Along the coast of the Bay of Fundy, the soil is 


the most fertile, and the lands the best cultivated in 
the province ; particularly about Cornwallis, Horton, 
Windsor, and Truro: the last is by far thfc most 
beautiful village that I have seen in any part of 
America. At * Cumberland, the inhabitants attend 
more to grazing than to agriculture : they have large 
stocks of black cattle, and make great quantities of 
butter and cheese. The marshes in this country are 
dyked to keep off the sea, and are thus made to pro- 
duce abundant crops of grain, vegetables and grass. 

Yarmouth is a small flourishing town in the souths 
eastern part of the province ; the inhabitants of which 
are enterprising and industrious, owning several square 
rigged vessels and schooners, employed in fisheries 
and in trading to the West Indies and other places. 

Shelburne, which rose Into a considerable town, as 
if by magic, immediately after the revolutionary war, 
was in a few years deserted, and is now in ruins ; 
from which it would appear, that when great natural 
disadvantages are connected with a place, it cannot 
flourish, if there be near it a situation like Halifax, 
which on the other hand inherits an eminent superiority 
from its position. 

•• Liverpool, the second town in the province, is a sea- 
port town lying to the west of Halifax : its principal 
ttode is with the West Indies ; in which, and in the 
fisheries, the inhabitants have sixty to seventy brigs 
and schooners employed. This place sent out more pri- 
vateersduring the last war, than all the province besides. 

The district of Pictou, although the most northerly, 


is perhaps equal to the best part of Nova Scotia, and 
its soil is, almost in all places, susceptible of cultiva- 
tion, with a reasonable certainty of yielding good crops. 
The climate is the same as that of Prince Edward 

The harbour of Pictou is commodious, safe *s to 
approaching, and entering it, and sufficiently deep for 
the largest ships. Its great and only disadvantage, 
and one which is equally attached to all the harbours 
within the Gulf of St. Lawrence, is that of its being 
frozen over for four months in the year. Three 
remarkably fine rivers branch off from the harbour, 
and wind through a well-cultivated country. Coal 
is found in great plenty, and has been exported for 
some years. There are also valuable salt springs in the 
neighbourhood. Excellent free stone for building 
abounds in many places, and the surrounding country 
is covered with various kinds of timber. Within a few 
.miles of Pictou, the " Albion Mining Company/ 9 
who have purchased all the mines in the province, 
. have begun their most active operations, and their 
prospect of success appears very favorable, especially 
in respect to the Iron Mines. 

The town of Pictou is small, not containing above 
1500 inhabitants; but being conveniently situated, 
it derives its importance from being not only the port 
of entry, but the centre of all the trade carried on in 
that part of Nova Scotia, within the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence, lying between the Gut of Canso and the 
Bay de Vert. Pictou and Sydney in Cape Breton have 
lately, by an order of Council, been declared free ports; 


The inhabitants of Pictou are exceedingly industri- 
ous. Fishing, ship building, shipping timber, coal, 
&c, form their principal sources of enterprise. Their 
incesssant perseverance merits the highest praise ; and 
although the heavy speculations in shipping carried on 
in the remarkable year 182S, to the utmost stretch in 
England, fell heavily on the Merchants of this place ; 
yet, their industry and economy will, it is likely, soon 
enable them to surmount their losses. 

From Cape St. George to Miragamiche harbour, 
a distance of 30 miles, the inhabitants are Scotch 
Highlanders, who live by cultivating the soil and 
raising cattle. ' At Miragamiche the settlers are of the 
same description ; but, like all those in North America, 
wherever there is a harbour for ships, their attention 
' is directed occasionally away from agricultural pursuits 
to the hewing of timber, or to labouring in a ship yard, 
if there be one. This observation is applicable in a 
more than . common degree to the inhabitants of 

* Tatmagouche, Port Wallace, (Remsheg,) Pugwash, 

• and River Phillips, settlements lying north of Pictou ; 
the lands of which, although excellent, have been 
neglected by the settlers, whose labour has been 
chiefly applied to hewing timber for exportation. 

When the population of this province increases so 
much, that all the best lands will be settled upon, 
agriculture and the fisheries will then form the lead- 
ing pursuits of the inhabitants. 

The canal which is to connect Halifax with the 


Bay of Fundy, now digging, will be of great advan- 
tage to Nova Scotia. A canal which has been long 
contemplated to connect the Bay of Fundy and Gulf 
of St. Lawrence, would also be of immense conveni- 
ence and benefit to New Brunswick, to the western 
part of Nova Scotia, and to Canada. 

* See note J Appendix. 

Ktto 93rtrotfiHrfu 


Description* ..Sketch of New Brunswick. . .Inland Navigation.*. 
American Forests... Climate... Natural advantages ...City of 
St John.. Trade.. Production, Soil, and Agriculture.. Great 
leading Roads. »JSt. Andrew's. 

The Province of New Brunswick extends from the 
River St. Croix, which is considered the boundary line 
of the United States, to the Bay de Chaleur and the 
River Restigouche, which divide it from Canada. The 
greater part of this colony is yet in a wilderness state. 
Its soil, with the exception of a few rocky districts, 
principally on the coast of the Bay of Fundy, and 
several, but not extensive, swampy tracts, is rich and 

The River St. John with its lakes and myriads of 
streams ; the tributary waters of one side of the St, 
Croix; Miramichi River, which divides into three 
majestic branches ; the River Nepisighit, and many 
lesser rivers, open an inland navigation into almost 
every part of the province. 

Dense forests* cover the whole country, and 
extend to the banks and lakes of the St. Lawrence ; 

* The trees are of the same kind as described In chap. 2nd. Pine 
abounds in greater plenty than in any of the lower provinces; and 
the quality of the soil may always be ascertained from the descrip- 
tion of wood growing on it. Along the countless rivers of this pro- 
vince are innumerable small tracts of, what is termed, intervale 
land: this kind of soil is alluvial, and, like the lands of the Nile, 
annually irrigated by the overflowing of the rivers. 


beyond Which, they are* succeeded by others, Which, 
although cr6ssed by extensive savannahs, terminate 
only at the shores of the Pacific; 

The magnificent splendour of the forests of North 
America is peculiar to that vast country. In Europe, 
in Asia, in Africa, and even in South America, the 
primeval trees, how much soever their magnitude may 
arrest admiration,' do not grow up in the ptbmiscildlis 
style which prevails in the great general character 
of the North American woods'; Mariy varieties of the 
pine intermingled with birch, maple, beech, oak, and 
numerous other tribes, branch luxuriantly over the 
banks of lakes and rivers, extend in stately grandeur 
over the plains, and stretch proudly up to the very 
summits of the mountains. 

It is impossible to exaggerate the autumnal beauty 
of these forests j nothing under heaven can be com- 
pared to it. Two or three frosty nights in the decline 
of autumn, transform the boundless verdure of a whole 
empire into brilliant scarlet, rich violet, every possible 
shade of blue and brown, vivid crimson, and glittering 
yellow. The fir tribes alone maintain their unchange- 
able dark green; all others, on mountains or in valleys, 
burst into the most glorious vegetable beauty, and 
exhibit the most splendid, and the most enchanting 
panorama on earth. 

The climate of New' Brunswick is much milder in 
the southern, than in the northern parts, which border 
on the Golf of St. Lawrence and the Bay de Chaieur. 
With the difference however df more humidity, and that 


the harbours on the southern coast are seldom long 
frozen over, what is said on climate in chapter iv. will 
a PPty; w 'th ^ e exception of the northern districts, to 
this province. 

The natural advantages of New Brunswick, are 
equal to those of any wilderness country in America ; 
and when settlements are formed on the vast tracts of 
lands bordering on its innumerable rivers, St. John's and 
St. Andrew's, will become great shipping ports, as the 
productions of the interior will naturally be carried 
down the rivers, and deposited in these towns for ex- 

The trade of this province with England and the 
West Indies, has for some years been carried on to an 
important extent ; but from ship building and the 
exportation of timber being the leading business 
followed by the merchants, they have, in consequence 
of the unprecedented depreciation in the value of 
shipping and timber, been subjected to great loss. 

St. John's, the largest town, is situated on the 
north side, and near the entrance, of the River St. 
John ; about a mile above the town there are rapids; 
or rather falls, in the river, which are passed by small 
vessels at the top of high water. The town is rather 
more than half the size of Halifax, and the ware- 
houses and wharves built much in the same 
manner; but the dwelling-houses are of a more 
lofty style, especially in the streets diverging from 
the market ; the public buildings, if not splendid, are 
certainly handsome structures. 


The rise of the tide is twenty-five to thirty feet; 
When the sea flows so as to cover the shores, the 
appearance of the harbour of St. John, and all the 
surrounding objects which fill up the landscape, are 
beautiful and magnificent; but at low water the 
aspect of the front of the town, which exhibits 
muddy shores, high wharves, and timber booms 
covered with slime, is exceedingly disagreeable. 
North-west from the town, there is a beautiful 
prairie, named the Marsh, which contains above 
3000 acres of alluvial land of extraordinary fertility : 
to neutralize its soil, lime, of which great quantities 
exist in the neighbourhood, is applied. . The tide i» 
now shut out by an embankment, over whieh the 
public Voad is carried, Fifty years ago the site of this 
thriving city was covered with trees, and only a few 
straggling huts existed within its, harbour. This was 
its condition at the peace of 1783 ; and when we 
now view it, with its population of above 800Q ; its 
stately houses, its public buildings its warehouses, 
its wharves, and with the majestic ships . which 
crowd its port, we are more than lost in forming even 
a conjecture of what it will become in less than a 
century. Its position will ever command the trade of: 
the vast and fertile country, watered by the lake* and 
streams of the river St. John. All towns, through 
which the bulk of the imports and exports of the 
country in which these towns afte situated necessarily 
pass, have in consequence nourished. We view this, 
in the long and continued prosperity of Hamburgh ; 


the boundless commerce of Liverpool ; and the amaz- 
ing prosperity of New Yo*.* 

The timber trade has no doubt been one, if not the 
principal, cause of the rapid growth of St. John., 
Great gains were at first realized, both by it and 
- ship-building ; and although the merchants and others 
immediately concerned in these pursuits were nearly 
rained afterwards by the extent of their undertakings 
and engagements ; yet, it must be recollected, that 
each of those trades has enabled New Brunswick to 
pay for her foreign imports, and with, the timber trade 
she has built St. John, Frederioton, and St. An- 
drew. To the settler on new lands it presented a 
ready resource ; and if he only engaged in it for a few 
winters it was wise to do so j as by the gains attending 
it, he was put in possession of the means of stocking 
his farm and clothing himself and family. The pro- 
vince, therefore, gained great advantage by this 
trade ; and, although it is not less certain that it has 
been prosecuted to more than double the extent of the 
demand for timber, it would, notwithstanding, be ex- 
treme folly to abandon it altogether. Two-thirds of 
the people engaged in the timber trade and ship-build- 
ing, have only to give their industry another direction, 
and the remainder may work to advantage. In this 
view agriculture offers the most alluring, and at the 
same time most certain, source of employment. 
The fisheries follow next. Let the industry of the 
inhabitants be but divided between agriculture, the 
timber trade, and the fisheries, and this beautiful and 

* See Note K Appendix. 


Fertile province will probably flourish beyond' aay pre- 
cedent. Bat the farmer most adhere to agriculture 
alone ; the lumberer will do better, or at least be will 
realize more money, by following his own business, 
and those engaged in the fisheries will find it best to 
confine themselves chiefly to this pursuit. 

^The effects of the romantic projects of 1824 have 
not hitherto, it is true, spent their force. The re- 
action has been indeed terrible to the merchants of 
New Brunswick. What Halifax suffered after. the 
last American war, St. John was now doomed to 
endure. The docks of London and Liverpool were at 
this time crowded with fine ships built by the mcr* 
chants in North America, and sent to England for 
sale. The demand and price for such vessels having 
previously increased to a most unaccountable extent, 
the commercial men of New Brunswick were not ooly 
more extensively engaged in this trade than the mer- 
chants in the other provinces were, but from the 
facility which they had experienced before this time 
in making large remittances to England, in ships and 
timber, they incautiously plunged themselves deeply 
into debt, by importing great quantities of goods of all 

The consequence was, that their, ships have been s 
disposed of for less than half the prime cost ; their 
timber was sold for less than the expence of carrying 
it to the United Kingdom ; bills drawn by bouses of • / 

long standing, and the highest respectability, were 
returned dishonoured* The unparalleled suddenness 
of so unexpected a commercial calamity prevented 
the most cautious and experienced from gbarding 


166 jmr brumiwick. 

against the rain which awaked them. They had all 
their funds locked up, other in ships already built 
and rigged, in ships on the stocks ; or else ia Um- 
ber. It became necessary, at whatever loss, to finish" 
and send to England the vessels then in progress 
of building, or submit to lose all the money they had 
hid out. In most cases it would have been well to 
have done so. 

Many who considered themselves wealthy, were 
thus mined 5 and all engaged in trade have suffered ; 
some sArerely, others in a less degree. In future; it 
is almost Certain that such vessels only will be built as 
may be required for the fisheries, or for the carrying 
trade of the province ; and the boilding of ships for the 
British market is now nearly altogether relinquished. 

The trade of New Brunswick will hereafter be 
necessarily confined to the fisheries ; to the shipping 
of timber according to the demand for it in England; 
and to the exporting of fish, lumber, and other pro- 
ductions to the West Indies. The importations are 
principally manufactured goods, provisions, salt, &c. 
from the United Kingdom ; and rum, sugar, mo* 
lasses, &c. from the West Indies. 

The imports during the prosperous year 1824 were 
in 914 vessels, measuring 219,567 tons, and navigated 
by 996 1 • men. The value of their cargoes j£5 14,557 
sterling. The exports during the same period were 
in 898 vessels, measuring 219,567 tons, and navigated 
by 10,014 men. The value of their cargoes is 
estimated at j£332,04S sterling. But to this amount 
of exports there is to be added the value of sixty new 


vessels, which were built during the year within the 
province, and sent home for sale as remittances for 
Britisji merchandize. These vessels measured 19,468 
tons, which at j£10 per ton, amounts to ^194,880, 
which has to be added to the value of the cargoes 
exported, making the whole exports j£526,892, an 
extraordinary amount for a population not much 
exceeding 74,000 persons. 

About ninety miles up the river St. John, on the 
south aide,- stands Fredericton, the seat of 'Govern* 
ment ; the houses in which are. in number about 300, 
and the population about 2000. It is prettily situated 
on a level neck of land in the midst of a fertile and 
beautiful country, and it will hereafter be found more 
convenient than at present for the metropolis. 

The river St. }ohn, at Fredericton, is about a 
mile wide ; the scenery in almost every point of view is 
as beautiful and luxuriant as in any part pf America. 
Its most striking features are cultivated fields, green 
islands^ a majestic river, winding almost round the 
town ; a back ground, rising into wooded hilly ridges, . 
and clumps of primeval groves, remaining in detached, 
spots among the clearings. 

The streets pf Fredericton are wide, and cross eaxjh, > 
other at right angles. Sir Howard Douglas has lately had , 
a public promenade opened along the bank of the river. 
The Province Building and the Episcopal Church are, , 
but humble edifices. This town has frequently had 
its buildings consumed by fire ; but better houses have 
been built in their place. A residence for the Gover*- 
fior, on the site of the former one burnt in 1825; 


a college,* and a row of barracks atein the progress of ' 
building ; these will be executed in a substantial and 
handsome style. One steam boat only plies as yet 
between Fredericton and St. John. Boats of 20 
tons can go up the river from Fredericton to the grand 
falls, a distance of 230 miles from the sea. 

The Lieutenant Governor resides at Fredericton, 
where the legislature also meet, and where the courts 
of law are held. The present Lieutenant Governor, 
Sir Howard Douglas, appears indefatigable in pro- 
moting the improvement of the province. The colonial 
revenue is appropriated to the opening of roads, to the 
encouragement of the fisheries, to agricultural im- 
provements, and to the establishing of seminaries of 

A society was established in 1825, for the en- 
couragement of agriculture, and the location of emi- 
grants on new lands ; which will doubtless contribute 
to the prosperity of the country. The best breeds of 
black cattle, sheep and hogs, have been imported from 
England to this province, for the improvement of the 
general stock. The lands held by the Crown are equal 
to from two to three millions of acres, and are granted 
to the settlers in common soccage, reserving a quit 
rent of two shillings per hundred acres.* This quit 
rent has not yet been demanded in any of the colonies, 
except in Prince Edward Island, where proceedings 
were instituted by Governor Smith, for the recovery of 

* A revenue for supporting this College is to be raised from the 
rents or sales of lands appropriated for the purpose. In each 
County there are Schools supported by the Provincial Government. 

NEWi »RJJNSWiCK>. 158 

the fame in 1823, and which, from the enormous 
law expenses that the inhabitants were subjected to, 
produced great distress. 

. .New Brunswick, is susceptible of maintaining an 
immense population : this will be found hereafter under 
the head of emigration. 

The mineralogy of this colony is very imperfectly, 
or rather not at all known. Sandstone prevails on the 
borders of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and of the Bay 
de Chaleur \ and the formation of the lands fronting on 
the Bay of Fundy resembles, with some diversity 
however, the sea coast of Nova Scotia. Gypsum has 
formed an article of export to the United Stales, where 
it is applied to the soil as a manure. Lime stone, free 
stonje, and coal, abound in great plenty. A vein of 
iron .ore, yielding about 40 parts of this metal, has 
lately bsen discovered at St. John. Copper and 
plumbago are also known to exist, and specimens of 
amethyst, cornelian, &c. have been picked up. Some 
sulphurous. or hepatic springs, of the same properties 
as the Harrowgate water, have been found and analyzed. 

The population qf New Brunswick is at present 
said to be about 80,000. I have been told by persons 
intimately acquainted with the province, that this is 
far below the actual number. This population is com- 
posed of people of the same description as, and their 
manners and pursuits are nearly similar to, the inhabi- 
tants of Nova Scoti*. : , 

. * Government has lately adopted the plan of selling Crown 
Landi: the conditions will be found ftated hereafter adder the 
head of Emigration. 


The principal settlements are along the River St. 

John, and its lakes ; on the north banks of the St. 

Croix ; on the Gulf of St. Lawrence ; on the River 

Miramichi ; and on the shores of the Bay de Chaleur. 

The spirit of agriculture is beginning to diffuse itself 

rapidly through all, even the most northerly and coldest, 

parts of the province. Hitherto the timber trade and 

ship building, by engaging a great part of the laboui* of 

a population so very small in proportion to the extent 

of the country, have retarded the cultivation of the soil, 

and the improvement of the country. None of the 

North American colonies are more in want of settlers 

of steady and rural habits. 

The roads in this colony are few, and those in bid- 
condition ; and although its numerous rivers open in 
almost all directions channels of intercourse with the 
interior ; yet without good roads, the mode of travel* 
ling or of conveyance is more uncertain,, and generally 
less expeditious. Great leading roads are an essential 
desideratum in New Brunswick: ' There is, it is true, 
a tolerably good carriage road between St. John and 
Fredericton, and another from opposite St. John to 
St. Andrew. 

An object of paramount importance: would be, to 
accomplish a continuation of the road between Nova 
Scotia and Fredericton, to Quebec. The best line 
for this route has been examined, and it has already 
engaged the attention of the legislature of Canada. 
It shopld. bo ; accomplished the joint expense of 
Nova Scotia* NeW Brunswick .and Canada > all would 
derive great advantage from opening a direct libe' of 


communication, which might then be said to extend 
from Great Britain to the upper countries of British 
America. The course of this line would be across the 
Atlantic, either by the packets or merchant ships, to 
Halifax $ or, by the trading vessels to New Brunswick ; 
or, if steam packets should be* established to the Gut 
of Canso, from whence a road must be opened to join 
the road from Halifax to Fredericton. The road from 
Fredericton should then be continued to the lake Timis- 
quata, and from thence to the banks of the St. Lawrence ; 
along which, the Canadian inhabitants keep the main 
road always in a fair state of repair for carriages. 

The town of St. Andrew, on the north side of the 
River St. Croix, is a thriving place, in which a brisk 
trade has been carried on for some years. It 
has a Commercial Bank ; and it will, from its 
situation at the mouth of a river which spreads 
over an extensive country, be always a place of con- 
siderable importance; but much of its prosperity wili 
depend on the final settlement of the boundary line 
between New Brunswick and the United States. The 
Americans have on the opposite side a small town 
called Lubec. The revenue collected at St. Andrew's 
is considerable ; but smuggling on a great scale has 
long been carried on.* 

From the views which the Government of the 

United States entertain respecting the limits of the 

British possessions, the adjustment of the boundary 

line of New Brunswick, if not soon agreed upon, will 

in all probability give birth to disputes, the settlement 

of which may be attended with more than ordinary 


* See Note L. 



Description of Miramichi, Manner in which Lumbering 

Parties are formed and provided,.. Mode of life in the Woods 
during Winter,.. Rafting Timber down the Rivers,. .Character 
of those People,. . Timber Trade, . .Tremendous Fire of 1825,. . 
Rechibuctu and other Harbours on the Gulf Shore, &c. 

AIir^michi river enters the province of New Bruns- 
wick in latitude 47° 10 north, and in longitude 65° 
west. It is navigable for large ships for more than 
thirty miles. There is a sand bar off the entrance ; 
but the channel over it is broad, and vessels entering 
the river seldom meet with any accident. The land 
near the sea, like, the whole of the north-east coast of 
New Brunswick, is low, and clothed near the shore 
-with dwarf spruce and birch trees ; beyond which, the 
whole country is covered with heavy timber. This 
magnificent river divides into three branches, and 
these again into numberless streams. The importance 
'attached to Miramichi has arisen within the last 
twenty years, in consequence of the vast quantities of 
pine timber exported from thence. It was scarcely 
known thirty years ago, except to a few adventurers, 
who traded with the Indians for furs. Those who first 
settled on the banks of the river were attracted thither 
by its plentiful salmon fishery, which formed for 
some years a profitable source of enterprise. The 
exportation of timber has since then superseded almost 


every other pursuit ; and the waters of the river being 
much disturbed by vessels, boats, and rafts of timber, 
&c, an extraordinary decrease in quantity has fol- 
lowed in the salmon fishery. 

On the south side of Miramichi, a little within its 
entrance, lies Bay de Vin, where ships occasionally 
load, and where there is safe and sheltered anchorage : 
on the north, is the bay and settlement of Negowack, 
where ships also load, but where there is not much 
shelter. Houses are thinly scattered along each side 
of the river ; but little cultivation appears. About 
twenty miles up, on the south side, stands the town of 
Chatham, where several merchants are settled, who 
have erected stores and wharves. Four miles further up, 
on the north side, is the town of Newcastle, where 
there is a Court House, Church, and some other 
public buildings.* 

A little above Newcastle, and a short distance 
below the confluence of the two great arms of the river, 
the south west and north west branches, there is a 
small Island, on which there are stores and a mercan- 
tile establishment. On the banks of the three branches 
of this river there is a very thinly scattered population, 
who employ themselves chiefly in hewing timber dur- 
ing winter in the woods, and in rafting it down the 
river, in summer, to where the ships load. On the 
various branches of this beautiful and majestic river, 

* The public buildings at Newcastle were consumed by the 
fire of 1825. The erection of a Court House, Jail and Barracks, is 
now in contemplation, and will likely be commenced without delay. 


fertile tracts of intervale land abound, which might be 
cultivated to profitable, ad vantage, if the country were 
once settled with people of steady rural habits. The 
lumberers, who compose probably more than half the 
population, never will become industrious farmers ; 
and the cultivation of the soil is consequently neglected. 
The timber trade, which, in a commercial as well 
as political point of view, is of more importance in 
employing our ships and seamen, than it is generally 
considered to be, employs also a vast number of people 
in the British Colonies, whose manner of living, owing 
to the nature of the business they follow, is entirely 
different from that of the other inhabitants of North 

Several of these people form what is termed a 
" lumbering party/ 1 composed of persons who are all 
either hired by a master lumberer, who pays them 
wages, and finds them in provisions ; or, of individuals, 
who enter into an understanding with each other, to 
have a joint interest in the proceeds of their labour, 
Jhe necessary supplies of provisions, clothing, &c., 
are generally obtained from the merchants on credit, 
in consideration of receiving the timber which the 
lumberers are to bring down the rivers the following 
summer. The stock deemed requisite for a " lumber- 
trig party ,'* consists of axes, a cross-cut saw, cooking 
utensils ; a cask of rum ; tobacco and pipes.-; a sufficient 
quantity of biscuit, pork, beef, and fish ; pease and 
pearl barley for soup, with a cask of molasses to sweeten 
a decoction usually made of shrubs, or of the tops of 


the hemlock tree, and taken as tea. Two or three 
yokes of oxen, with sufficient hay to feed them, are also 
required to haul the timber out of the woods. 

When thus prepared, these people proceed up 
the rivers, with the provisions, &c, to the place fixed 
on for their winter establishment ; which is selected 
as near a stream of water, and in the midst of as much 
pine timber, as possible. They commence by clearing 
away a few of the surrounding trees, and building a 
camp of round logs ; the walls of which are seldom 
more than four or five feet high ; the roof is covered 
with birch bark, or boards. A pit is dug under the 
camp to preserve any thing liable to injury from the 
frost. The fire is either in the middle or at one end ; 
the smoke goes out through the roof; hay, straw, or 
fir branches are spread across, or along the whole 
length of this habitation 5 on which they all lie down 
together at night to sleep, with their feet next the fire. 
When the fire gets low, be who first awakes or feels 
cold, springs up, and throws on five oar six billets ; and 
in this way, they manage to have a large fire all night. 
One person is hired as cook, whose duty is to have break- 
fast ready before daylight ; at which time all the party 
rise, when each takes his " morning" or the indtipen* 
sable dram of raw rum, immediately before breakfast. 
This meal consists of bread, or occasionally potatoes $ 
with boiled beef, pork, or fish, and tea sweetened with 
molasses : dinner is usually the same, with pease soup in 
place of tea; and the supper resembles breakfast. 
These men ait enormous eaters, and they also drink 


great quantities of rum, which they scarcely ever dilute. 
f~ Immediately after breakfast, they divide into three 
gangs ; one of which cuts down the trees, another hews 
them, and the third is employed with the oxen in 
hauling the timber, either to one general road leading 
to the banks of the nearest stream, or at once to the 
stream itself : fallen trees and other impediments in 
the way of the oxen are cut away with an axe. 

The whole winter is thus spent in unremitting 
labour : the snow covers the ground from two to three 
feet from the setting in of winter until April ; and, in 
the middle of fir forests, often till the middle of May. 
When the snow begins to dissolve in April, the rivers 
swell, or, according to the lumberers 9 phrase, the 
"freshets come down." At this time all the timber 
cut during winter is thrown into the water, and floated 
down until the river becomes sufficiently wide to make 
the whole into one or more rafts. The water at this 
period is exceedingly cold $ yet for weeks the lum- 
berers are in it from morning till night, and it is sel- 
dom less than a month and a half, from the time that 
floating the timber down the streams commences, 
until the rafts are delivered to the merchants. No 
course of life can undermine the constitution more 
than, that of a lumberer and raftsman. The winter 
snow and frost, although severe, are nothing to endure 
in comparison to the extreme coldnes of the snow water 
of the freshets ; in which, the lumberer is, day after day, 
wet up to the middle, and often' immersed from head 
to foot. The very vitals are thus chilled and sapped ; 


and the intense heat of the summer sun, a transition, 
which almost immediately follows, must further weaken 
and reduce the whole framed} 
CTo stimulate the organs, in order to sustain the cold, 
these men swallow immoderate quantities of ardent 
spirits, and habits of drunkenness are the usual con- 
sequence. Their moral character, with few exceptions, 
is dishonest and worthless. I believe there are few 
people in the world, on whose promises less faith can 
be placed, than on those of a lumberer. In Canada, 
where they are longer bringing down their rafts, 
and have more idle time,, their character, if possible, is 
of a still more shuffling and rascally description. 
Premature old age, and shortness, of days, form the 
inevitable fate of a lumberer. Should be even save a 
little money, which is very seldom the case, and be 
enabled for the last few years of life to exist without 
incessant labour, he becomes the victim of rheuma- 
tisms and all the miseries of a broken constitution. 

But notwithstanding all the toils of such a pursuit, 
those who once adopt the life of a lumberer seem fond 
of it. They are in a great measure as independent, in 
their own way, as the Indians. In New Brunswick, and 
particularly in Canada, the epithet " lumberer" is con- 
sidered synonymous with a character of spendthrift 
habits, and villainous and vagabond principles. After 
selling and delivering up their rafts, they pass some 
weeks in idle indulgence $ drinking, smoaking, and 
dashing off, in a long coat, flashy waistcoat and brow- 
sers, Wellington or hessian boots, a handkerchief qf 


many colours round the neck, a watch, with a long 
tinsel chain and numberless brass seals, and an «m- 
brelia. Before winter they return again to the woods, 
and resume the pursuits of the preceding year. Some 
exceptions however, I have known to this generally 
true character of lumberers. Many young men 
of steady habits, who went from Prince Edward 
Island, and other places, to Miramichi, for the express 
purpose of making money, have joined the lumbering 
parties for two or three years ; and, after saving their 
earnings, returned and purchased lands, &c. on which 
they now live very comfortably. 

From 800 to 1,000 cargoes of timber have been 
imported annually for some years from British Ame- 
rica, and this trade employs about 6,000 seamen, 
who are exposed to every variety of climate. The 
timber trade is very important as a nursery for 
sailors, and it is besides of great value to England, 
in the value of freights and timber, which are princi- 
pally paid for by the production of British labour. On 
the most convenient streams, there are several saw 
mills, from which the quantity of boards and deals re- 
quired are brought down the river for shipping. 
Ship building has also occupied the attention of the 
merchants, about twenty large vessels having been 
built on the river. 

In October, 1825, upwards of a hundred miles of 
the country, on the north side of Miramichi river, 
became a scene of the most dreadful conflagration that 
has perhaps ever occurred in the history of the world. 


In Europe, we can scarcely form a conception of the 
fury and rapidity with which the fires rage through 
the American forests during a dry hot season ; at which 
time, the underwood, decayed vegetable substances, 
fallen branches, bark, and withered trees, are as 
inflammable as a total absence of moisture can render 
them. When these tremendous fires are once in 
motion, or at least when the flames extend over a few 
miles of the forest, the surrounding air becomes highly 
rarified, and the wind naturally increases to a hurri- 
cane.* It appears that the woods had been, on both 
sides of the North West branch, partially on fire for 
some time, but not to an alarming extent, until the 
7th of October, when it came on to blow furiously 
from the north-west, and the inhabitants on the banks 
of the river were suddenly alarmed by a tremendous 
roaring in the woods, resembling the incessant rolling 
of thunder; while at the same time, the atmosphere 
became thickly darkened with smoke. They had 
scarcely time to ascertain the cause of this phenomenon 
before all the surrounding woods appeared in one vast 
blaze, the flames ascending more than a hundred feet 
above the tops of the loftiest trees, and the fire, like 
a gulf in flames, rolling forward with inconceivable 
celerity. In less than an hour Douglastown and 
Newcastle were enveloped in one vast blaze, and. 
many of the wretched inhabitants, unable to escape, 
perished in the midst of this terrible fire. 

The following account is taken from a Miramichi 
paper of the 11th October : — " More than a hundred 

• See Note M Appendix. 


miles of the shores of Miramichi are laid waste, inde- 
pendent of the north west branch, the Baltibog, and 
the Nappan settlements. From one to two hundred 
people have perished within immediate observation* 
and thrice that number are miserably burnt or other- 
wise wounded ; and, at least two thousand of our 
fellow creatures are left destitute of the means of 
subsistence, and thrown at present upon the human- 
ity of the Province of New Brunswick. 

" The number of lives that have been lost in the 
remote parts of the woods, among the Lumbering 
Parties, cannot be ascertained for some time to come, 
for it is feared that few were left to tell the tale. 

u It is not in the power of language to describe the 
unparalleled scene of ruin and devastation which the 
Parish of Newcastle at this. moment presents; out of 
upwards of two hundred and fifty houses and stores, 
fourteen of the least considerable only remain. The 
Court House, Gaol, Church, and Barracks; Afessrs. 
Giimour, Rankin and Co/s, and Messrs. William 
Abrams and Co 's Establishments, with two Ships on 
the stocks are reduced to ashes. 

€€ The loss of property is incalculable, for the fire, 
borne upon the wings of a hurricane, rushed upon the 
wretched inhabitants with such inconceivable rapidity, 
that the preservation of their lives could be their only 

€S Among the vessels on the river, a number were 
cast on shore; three of which, namely, the ships 
Concord of Whitby, and Canada of North Shields, 

NEW 9*U3S1fI£K. 171 

together with the Brig Jane of Alloa, were consumed ; 
others were fortunately extinguished after the fire had 
attacked them. 

" At Douglastown scarcely any kind of property 
escaped the ravages of the fire, which swept off the 
surface every thing coming in contract with it, leav- 
ing but time for the unfortunate inhabitants to fly to : 
the shore ; and there by means of boats, canoes, rafts 
of timber, timber-logs, or any article however ill cal- 
culated for the purpose, they endeavoured to escape 
from the dreadful scene, and reach the town of 
Chatham, numbers of men, women, and children, 
perilling in the attempt. 

" Jn some parts of the country the cattle have all 
been destroyed, or suffered greatly, and the very soil 
ip iQ?ny places has been parched and burnt up, and 
fyo article of provisions to speak of has been rescued 
from the flames. 

"The hurricane raged with such dreadful violence, 
that large bodies of tiqaber on ftre, as also trees from 
the forest, and parts of the flaming houses and stores, 
were carried to the rivers with amazing velocity, to. 
such an extent, and affecting the water in such a 
npprjjierj a? to occasion large quantities of salmon and 
other fish to resort to land y hundreds of which were 
scattered on the shores of the. north and south west 

" Chathaqi i% present contains about three hundred 
of the. unfor^n^te sufferejrs, who have resorted to it for 
relief, and are- experiencing some partial assistance, 


although I have heard it urged in JLnglapd as an 
argament la favodr of the timber trade. The lum- 
berers choose the tr&es that they consider the most 
suitable, and not one in ten thousand is esteemed so.. 
Almost every description of forest trees would be 
valuable fot different purposes, if once lapded in the 
United Kingdoms ; but the principal part of the cost 
is the freight across the Atlantic, and in order, there- 
fore, that a ship may carry the. greatest possible quan- 
tity, the largest and straightest trees are hewn 
square, and not brought round to market, a* the trees 
cut down in England zxe. The timber trade of 
America lips beeri attend&d with Iqss to almost every 
merchant engaged: in it, The cau$$s of which are 
numerous, tout principally arbip$> firsjt, from the Jow 
pKce of labour and naval stores in thepprthern king*. 
dohisof Europe; enabling the people of tfiQse countries 
tor etyort timber *P>(prr^t;3riit^p ajt.e^trewdy low 
pritfcs;/wid *ftcoi»c|lyj fwo the Inwbereip pot being 
able^or rftdeed wUJing,; to pay the ijebts t bey con- 
tiajcted wiA the mercj^nt*, io /consequence of the 
depreciated value of timber* Many adventurer*, also* 
without a*y capita fr^m wtpgssiog extraordip^ry 
gfsins having bfteapccA^Qii^lym^ by the^ts, 
eatferfed into this. biteHfyess* and whq, paving nothing to 
lose* ventuml Into, during; speculations, which were ex- 
ceedingly injurious to reguiarjy established merchants * 

%t i #, fhe moat absurd r ol%je.ct;ons. are made, either from interes^ 
or prejudice, a^aiost American Timber, although for most purpose* 
Uiaeq&aiUn^for^any, superior to du*ȣ 

To the southward Of Miramichi, New Brunswick ex- 
tends about 75 miles along the Straits of Northumber- 
land to Cftpe Tortttentltte. On this, coast am the 
harbours of Rechibucto, Buctush, Cocaigne, ShedSac, 
and the harbour of Chemqguee for small vessels. 
The shores of this district are low ; and sandy downs, 
in many places, forrti a border to the coast. . The. soil 
is generally of a fertile description* but very thinly 
inhabited, and many thousands of settlers might be 
located on the vacant lands, lying between the sea 
and the river St. John. 

Rechibucto harbour has a sand bar across the 
entrance* but at high water ships drawing sixteen ( feet 
water may cross over it: within the last few years 

these objections is at the same time untrue and ridiculous, that is, 
its being more congenial to the propagation of bugs than other ' 
wood. It has been confidently, stated in some of the public 
prints, that not only do the trees in the forest abound with these dis- 
gusting insects, but that the timber when landed from the ships 
has swarmed With them. 1 need only observe, that there can be 
little difference between European and American Timber as far 
as regards the one being more genial to the increase of bugs than 
the other: they are exceedingly rare in the wooden buildings in 
America, except in the oldest houses in the towns ; and it is well 
known that there are few of the old houses in the towns in England 
that are not infected with those loathsome Vermicula, The dura- 
bility of American Timber is also questioned : the yellow pine is 
certainly not so durable as the red pine of Norway, although for 
many purposes it is much better adapted. The. Pitch Pine, Red 
Pine, and Juniper, or American Larch, will, I am firmly con-, 
vinced, last as long as any wood of the same genus growing in 
any part of Europe. The Hemlock, a large tree of the fir tribe, is, 
I consider, the most durable wood in the world ; and it possesses 
the peculiar property of preserving iron driven into it, either under 
water or exposed to the air, from corroding. 


vast quantities of timber have been exported from 
this place. The inhabitants are principally engaged 
as lumberers, agriculture being a minor consideration. 

Buctush is also a bar harbour, and a port from 
which timber is exported, but not on a large scale. 

Cocaigne lies to the southward of Buctush : its 
entrance is intricate even for small vessels ; but ships 
of considerable burthen may load within the bar. 
Several cargoes of timber have been exported from 
this place, and here also a few ships have been built. 
The population is small. 

Shediac is a small bar harbour with a scanty po- 
pulation, who have divided their labour between 
hewing timber and a little farming. 

The entrance to Chemoguee river is shallow ; some 
of the lands are under tolerable cultivation, and agri- 
culture and rearing cattle occupy the principal attention 
of the inhabitants. 

Between Chemoguee and Cape Tormentine there 
are many very extensive and well cultivated farms. 
The soils resembles that of Prince Edward Island, 
which is immediately opposite*; and here the distance 
across is not ten miles. 

From Miramichi, north, to Point Miscou, at the en~ 
trance of the Bay de Chaleur, the distance is about 70 
miles. The sea coast and back lands of this district are 
very low, and the shore nearly altogether fringed with 
sandy ridges, or small sand Islands, within which, are 
lagoons with shallow entrances. To Tracadie, the prin- 
cipal of these places, several thousand tons of timber are 


annually hauled out of the woods, and rafted to 

To the northward of these places, and near the 
passage of Shippigan, which divides the Island of 
that name, from the Continent, are situated the small 
and shallow harbours of Little and Great Pomouch, 
inhabited by a few Acadian French. The population 
along this coast is scattered thinly near the water, 
and subsist by the meant of fishing, raising potatoes, 
and a little grain, and hewing tinker. 


179 NBW BBUNftVICfc, 


fifty do C*alwr > ...Mi»4?oii # .. < Sh!W>igiui,...St. Peter's,.* •Rwti- 

foucbe,. . . .Booaventure,. . , . Carlisle, . .Gaspe, &c. . . .Climate 
of the District of Gaspe,. . . .Whale Fishery,. . . .Island of Anti- 
eosti,. . Magdalene Islands, . .Acadian French,. . Canadians, fee. 

THIS Bay, or rather Gulf, and the River Rusti- 
goache, which falls into it, divide Canada and New 
Brunswick, Cape Mackerall, (Maquercau) on the 
Canadian side, and Point Miscou on the south, distant 
from each other 15 miles, form the entrance to this 

Point Miscou is in latitude 47° 58, and in longi- 
tude 64° 30*. The length of this magnificent Gulf 
from Point Miscou west, to the mouth of the River 
Rustigouche, is about 85 miles. In one place it is 20 
miles broad; in others from 15 to 30 miles. On the 
Canadian or north side, the land rises into lofty moun- 
tains : on the south side, except within 20 miles of 
the head of the bay, the interior country is low; 
although along the shores the cliffs are in some places 

In 1534, The famous and intrepid French Naviga- 
tor, Jaques Cartier, sailed into this bay, previous to his 
discovering the St. Lawrence. From the intensity of 
the midsummer heat, which he then experienced, he 
gave it the name of Bay de Chaleur. 

BAY' Dfi CHALK0K. 179 

Mlsoou Island is about 10 miles round. Here the 
French, previous td the co* quest of Canada, had an 
extensive fishing plantation, conducted by the "Com- 
pany of Mtscou." The remains of their buildings, &c. 
still appear. In 1819, when I was ashore on this 
Island, there was living on it bat one! family, constat- 
ing of a disbanded Highland soldier, of the name of 
Campbell, his wife, son-in-law, and two daughters.* 
He settled on this spot from his attachment to raising 
cattle ; as it affords excellent pasturage in summer, 
and as it produces also plenty of hay to feed them 
with during winter. There is a safe and deep harbour 
formed between this Island and the Island of Shippi- 
gan. The entrance to R, from the Gulf, must not be 
attempted, as it will scarcely admit boats; but the other 
firotiv the "bay has water sufficiently deep for large 
ships. There is -Ktrie wood on this Islands the trees 
are dwarf birches and firs. 

Sbippigan is about 20 miles long, low, and sandy, 

and produces bent grass,' fir and birch trees, shrubs, 

and a great abundance of cranberries, blueberries, &c» 

t ■ ■ 

• Tbr#e of jthU; family were, I feav* learned since, drowned-; 
the boat in which they were attempting to cross over to Cara- 
quette, haying filled on a reef about two miles from the land. 
One bf these wasthe unmarried daughter. Her appearance was. 
certaiplyipfefesting, when I saw her, and I could not help think, 
ing at the time, that it was a matter of regret to see her wearing 
oat life on an island thirty miles from any one but her own family. 
A black servant that I bad with me, totdae after we left, that she 
was anxious to escape from far prison, and would gladly do so 
then, if she could. Three months after, the unfortunate girl was 


The passage between it and the Continent, Wing 
i* the eastern entrance choaked with sand, has pnJy 
seven or eight feet depth of water ; but the channel 
leading from the Bay de Chaleur is deep anil broad ; 
but on each side of which, flat, rooky* and sandy shal- 
lows stretch -out two or three mWe^ from the land. Qp* 
this Island, and on the ifiain land opposite, there are 
about fifty families of Actfdian French, whose princi- 
pal occupation is fishing* The 9oil istqleraMy fertile, 
and. produces wheat, potatoes, and oats ; which, bpw* 
ever, the inhabitants raise but in siwU quantifies. -.A 
few cargoes of timber haye been exported frpfi\ §hip- 
pigan; and a censiderfchle quantity of r ; ed and yellow 
Pine isr hauled out of the j^opds duripg printer to 
Poihoucb, a few miles te,lHe.sQnAw^fdj r ^»4r#«^ 
which place, large rafts of tinjbcj.hay^ frequently 
been, poled along, the shore* 60 ;*r f JQ, ^ies, ^jad 
delivered at Miramichi. , ; i . <■ 
, x €ksraquette is situated a few $ailes yqiVoi $hippt~ 
gatu There is an Inland at the ; ientyan0e whiph fon#§ 
the harbour : oh each tide of > this* Island Iters « a tf$£# 
but intricate channel. A long, populous, but straggling 
village extends' several miles along the sduth side of 
Caraquette Bay ; at the head of which, stands .the old 
Catholic Chapel, in -one of the most beautiful spots in 
the world; at least it is so during summer and aatamn : 
on one side of it is a beautiful transparent stream, 
issuing from between the crevices pf n rock^ on the 
other, before the skirts of a luxuriatit forest of birch and 
maple, are a few acres of green sward, on which the 

BAY DE ^HAJ^RjUB. 161 

villagers ddlightfto repose ia fin* Jv3ftther 9 > dtfP9g 4)*5* 
interval between Mass and Vespex$. In front of this . 
spot a beautiful vfcw open§ of the harbour, Cataquette 
Island, and a broad prospect of the Bay de Chaleuj?, , 
In the middle of the village,, and oq pretty high 
ground, the new: atone Church stands. It is a large : 
plain building, with a high spire, landofre or two beU?» : 
The inside is lined with pictures .of q showy, bat cheaj^ 
description. The inhabitants, boivevpr, feltgrefrt re- 
luctance in abandoning the old chapej, which, w^U 
every object surroqhdifrg it* bad Ji*en;for twenty or 
thirty years familiarised to them, and they w^re, 
anxious, although the distance was Very inc.opyeoiej^t, 
to build the new on? oa the saute *p<?t. : ....... 

• The soil about CaraquetitB is v*ry fertile* I hav^ ; 
seen as fine wheat gf owing- there *s, in any part qf\ 
America* The inhabitants of tliis place, and Shippig^n^ 
particularly the women, show more of the feature^ 
andcotoar 4>{ the M^c-Maclwliaps^ than any pf .the 
Atoadkuts that i hawe elsewhere seen. This circupis 
stance wises from the first settlers, .pf whom they; 
are descended, having intermarried, with the savage^, 
These 'people employ themselves principally in \\iq 
Cod Hod Herring Fisheries, and. depend only as an 
aujiiliatyr means of subsistence, on the cultivation pf 
tlie sdily which they leave in a great measure, tp tta 
management of the women and youngetf sPns. Thej$ 
arfc some excellent grindstone quarts jp this place. 
R^d ochre, also, of excellent quality, abounds, 
- Betweeu Garaquette and Nipisighit Bay^ therms qft 


three or four small Acadian Settlement*, the inhab* 
itants of which live by fishing. 

On the east side of Nipisighit (or St* Peter's) is 
situated the new flourishing settlement of New Ban- 
don ; the inhabitants of which went from Ireland a 
few years ago, and have, by confining their labour 
entirely to agriculture, and by persevering industry 
and good management, succeeded in rising, from com- 
parative poverty, to the acquisition of considerable 
property in land and cattle. 

: ' St. Peter's is the harbour of Nipisighit Bay ; there, 
is a bar across the entrance, but large brigs can load 
inside of it. The River Nipisighit winds and branches 
over a great extent of the northern part of New Bruns- 
wick. I have before observed, that it appears to be 
in a line of contact, between a region of sandstone 
to the eastward, and a part of the vest granitic. ro*ge 
of the Alleghanies. 

For some years, several ships have loaded with, 
timber at this port ; to which business the inhabitants 
have directed a great portion of their labour. The 
number of settlers in this place is inconsiderable; but 
I believe, that a great population might be located 
advantageously on the lands watered by this river. 
There are two or three merchants at St. Peter's, and it is 
the port of entry under St. John, for all the harbours 
on the south side of the Bay de Chaleur. 

The River Rustigouche, which: separates Canada 
from New Brunswick, falls into a spacious harbour at 
the head of the Bay de Chaleur. This majestic river 


and its numerous appendant streams, branch over 
more than 2,000 square miles of New Brunswick and 
Canada. The largest stream running into it from the 
north is the Matapediash, rising in a lake of that name, 
situated in the middle of the county of Cornwallis, in 
Lower Canada. From one of the southern streams of 
the Rustigouche, the distance to the river St. John is 
but a few miles ; and by this route the Courier travels 
with letters to New Brunswick, or Canada. A road 
to open a direct communication between the settle- 
ments on the Bay de Chaleur and Canada, by the lake 
Metapediash, has been contemplated. Next to a 
public road from Fredericton to the St. Lawrence, I 
consider a road that -would enable the inhabitants of 
the Bay de Chaleur, particularly those on the north 
side, to have a direct and certain intercourse with 
Quebec, an object of the greatest importance to this 
neglected, and almost forgotten, but still valuable part 
of Canada. 

A profitable salmon fishery was, for many 
years, followed on the River Rustigouche, which 
has, for some time, been declining; and the timber 
trade seems to be almost supplanting it altogether. 
I have been told by those longest settled on the river, 
that an extraordinary decrease in the number of salmon 
annually frequenting it has taken place : this may be 
in consequence of its waters being much more dis- 
turbed than formerly. 

The inhabitants at what may be considered the 
harbour of Rustigouche, and those at the thinly in- 


habited settlements of Nouvelle, Tracadigash, and 
Cascapedia, consist of a mixed population, of English, 
Scotch, Irish, American, and. Acadian French, who. 
employ themselves in the different occupations of 
fishing, hewing timber, and farming on a very humble 

Eight miles up the Ru&tigouche, there is an Indian 
Chapel, and here they occasionally form a small village 
of fVigwams*, which* after a few weeks, they soon 
displace, and, packing up these portable habitations, 
with all their stock, embark with them in their canoes, 
for some other part of the country.. 

The land, on each side the river Rustlgouche, is 

high and mountainous. In some places the river 

appears to have actually broken through ramifications 

of the great chain between it and the St. Lawrence. 

In the valleys and along the river where interval lands 

abound, the soil is capable of producing luxuriant 

crops of grain, and all sorts of green crops. The trees, 

particularly the fir tribes, grow to immense heights 

and sizes, and a great timber country may be opened 

on this river. The quality is in great repute among 

the timber dealers in England, especially in the port of 

Liverpool, and considered equal to that imported from 

Miramichi. The greatest difficulty to surmount 

appeared, to me, to. be the hauling or bringing it out to 

the rivers, as the best timber groves are in the valleys, 

behind the mountainous ridges,, which in nadst places 

follow the winding of the streams. The indefatigable 

spirit of the liimberers, however, is such, that they 


overcome natural obstacles that would stagger the reso- 
lution of other people. They cut (he timber, and haul 
it, in winter, to places where there is often no water 
either in summer or winter; but which, they well 
know, will be overflown when the spring-thaws dissolve 
the snow on the mountains, and in the woods. 

There are three or four timber merchants at Rus- 
tigouche harbour, who have exported several cargoes 
of timber during the last few years. Part of the sal- 
mon caught in this river are sold to the traders, who 
carry them to Quebec or Halifax; and the rest exported 
direct to the West Indies. 

The country between the Bay des Chaleurs and the 
River St* Lawrence, is in Lower Canada, and forms 
the district of Gaspe. 

The harbour and river of Bonaventure, on the north 
• side of the bay, is about thirty miles below Rusti- 
goucbe. On each side of this small harbour, which at 
high water will admit brigs of near 200 tons, there is a 
thickly settled ]K>pulation of industrious Acadian French. 
These people have much simplicity in their manners, and 
strangers always meet with kindness and hospitality 
among them. They are principally engaged in the 
herring and cod fisheries; next to which, they derive 
considerable assistance from the cultivation of the soil. 
They build boats and fishing vessels for themselves ; 
and, during winter,, some of the young men have, since 
1817> spent part of their time hewing timber in the 
woods; this, however, is an employment which they 


do not seem fond of. There is. a Catholic Church in 
this village; and on the beach, near the mouth of the 
harbour, there are salt stores, fish houses,. &c. 

Carlisle is the principal place in the district of 
Gaspe. It is laid out for a town, and its situation 
during summer is agreeable and beautiful. There is 
a substantial and handsome stone building here, in 
which the district court is held, and in which there is 
also a jail.* The population is composed of people 
from different parts of America and Europe, and the 
character of the majority of them is considered not of 
the most honest description by the inhabitants of the 
neighbouring settlements. Two miles below Carlisle 
is the settlement of Paspabtae, inhabited chieiy by 
Acadian French, who employ themselves principally in 
fishing. Here are also several . people from Jersey, 
attached to the respectable fishing establishment of 
Messrs. Robin and Co. The harbour of Pa&pabiac 
admits only very small schooners and boats; but 

* I saw in 1819 the judge of tbis court and hjs brother, who 
had been a captain in the army. They were certainly as perfect 
pictures of penury as couldweil be discovered in any country ; and 
both men were of liberal education. They lived in a small house wi tb - 
out a servant ; they cooked for themselves, and washed and mended 
their own clothes, which were patched all over with various colours, 
which they seldom subjected to the influence of soap and water. 
T Be judge was formerly a lawyer at Quebec, but said to be promoted 
to the bench of the distiict of Gaspe by the joint efforts of the bar 
of which be was a member, in order to get rid of so dirty and 
penurious a being. Hoarding money was the apparent object of 
.their existence. The military man died since, I believe, of n fever; 
the judge soon after committed suicide. He left a considerable 


ships and large schooners ride at anchor with safety 
all summer in the road. The fish stores, flakes, &c. 
are ranged along a very fine beach, where the people 
connected with the fisheries are incessantly employed 
during the summer and autumn ; in winter they retire 
back near to the woods. A few miles below Paspabiac 
is situated the small Itarbour and settlement of little 
Nouveilej below which, as far along the coast as 
cape Desespoir, 'the land and soil assume a rugged and 
rather btfreo appearance. . 

Port Daniel is the best hatbour within the bay Dc 
Chaleur, and the features of its scenery are dark, wild, 
and prominent. There are but a few families in this 
place, and they appeared to me to be in great poverty. 
It. is conveaient far fishing; but the soil near the 
shore is rocky and barren. 

Great and little Pabfts, and, Grand River, are small- 
harbours with intricate entrances, . situated along the 
eofest between port Daniel and cape Desespoir. The 
inhabitants* few in cumber, support themselves by the 
means of fishing and a little cultivation. The soil 
near the shore . is indifferent* but at some distance back, 
and along the streams, there are several fertile spots. 

PercS is the oldest fishing settlement in this dis- 
trict. Immediately over it motint Joli rises abruptly, 
and its romantic summit ascends to the clouds. This 
mountain or cape I consider to he the first rise or 
commencement of the great Alleghaney chain. This 
immense granitic range, branching into numerous 


ramifications, follows a course nearly parallel to the 
St. Lawrence; and then, to the eastward of 'la&e 
Charaplain, bends to the Southward, until it is finally 
lost by dipping into the Carolines. 

Bomatoenture Island lies about a mile east from 
Perce, Its south, east, and north sides present inac- 
cessible cliffs. . On the west, opposite Perce, boats may 
always land, where there are two or three fishing plan- 
tations established by industrious adventurers Arum 
Jersey. This Island and Percd are both important 
fishing ports, and the inhabitants are all fishermen. 

The channel between Perc& and Bonaventore Island 
is deep, and without rocks or shoals, with the excep- 
tion of Roc Perce, which stands at the northern 
entrance. This extraordinary and picturesque rock is 
near 200 feet high, of a zigzag narrow shape, and 
about 300 feet long ; it has two arches or openings 
through it, sufficiently large to allow boats carrying 
sail to pass under. The settlement of Perce has its 
name from the rock; the Canadian French having 
called it Roc Perct, from its appearance. 

About two miles to the northward of this place, 
the inhabitants say that two English men of war were 
wrecked, which belonged to the squadron, (Com- 
modore Phipps's) that attempted to take Quebec ta 
1721, and that the sailors after landing perished from 
cold and want of food. This may be true, as few of 
Phipps's ships were ever heard of* The most super- 
stitious stories of apparitions having often been seen, 
and of shouting and talking, after the manner of sailors, 


having been frequently heard, are related' by Che 
" Habitant" Who are of French descent. The wild, 
lofty, and terrific character of the scenery, particularly 
in the foil and winter, when the winds blow furiously 
against the cittfe and round the moanttUns, with the 
impression Chat the crews of two ships perished there 
after landing*, and that their bodies were never buried, 
are sufficient to Work imaginations, naturally credulous,- 
into the mo*t tf nlimited belief in the marvellous-. 

For three or four months in summer andf autumn, 
die climate of this district is remarkably fine, and the 
country,' which is all covered with wood, exhibits a 
luxuriant, but from the sombre hud of the fir trees, 
which predominate, a wild appearance. I rtever felt the 
fascinating power of nature more strongly thin in 
i684, on approaching the land near mount Joli \ and 
sailing from the southward through the passage 1 of 
Perefc. The landscape Wbs the richest imaginable : 
the sun wi» setting beyond tfte mountainous back 
ground ; the heavens bad just clcai^ed up, afUr %ht- 
ningand thunder, anda heavy shoWerof iii hoiff's dura- 
tion, which had then passed over us ; the clouds were 
magnificently adorned with the exigent briltiaricy of 
the most ininfct*Me colours } the sea Was quite calm, 
tod extended up flte bay De €haleur, on the one 
hand, and into the gUff of St. Lawrence, on the other, 
beyond the scope of Vision . while 'its surface, smooth 
as that of a inffofr, reflected with precision the splen- 
dour of the heavens, the stfirtbre cast of the hooded 
mountains, and the ^nlivelufig counterpart of the 


houses, stores, . and fish flakes. Roc Perce stood in 
hold ruggedness with its arches near the middle of the 
passage ; cape Gaspe, high, steep, and black, but its 
rocky ridge at this time gilded with the setting sun, 
appeared in the distance. Bonaventure Island with 
its steep cliffs and deep: green firs rose on the right; 
mount Joli on the left ; several vessels were within 
view^two schooner^ were anchored near the fish 
stores— and the &e# was spotted 6ve"f with more than 
a hundred fishing boats. 

Gatpe harbour i$ qne. of the best. In the world ; it 
is situated imfnediately below tlie entfaprc^.jof Jheriver 
St. Lawrence. The . inhabitants' are thinly settled in 
three of four places, and are employed chiefly in the 
eod and herring fisheries. Little cultivation appears, 
and there does not.tptfn! to beany great extent of good 
land about the; harbour; farther back in the. valleys, 
excellent soil, covered! with large trees, is met. with, 
A few .cargoes of timber have been' shipped here for 
England $ and seme of the inhabitants pursue the whale 
fishery, which has, for some years, been, carried on at 
Gaspev ';:•.. , 

The whales caught within the Gulf of St. Lawrence 
are those called ." ifttop-facfc*," which yield, op an 
average, about three tons of oil : some have been, taken 
seventy feet . long, which . proved eight tons. The . 
mode of taking them is sojpewh&t different .from.tlpt 
followed by the Greenland fishers; and tbe Gaspe fisher- 
men first acquired an acquaintance with it from; the peo* 
pie of Nantucket. An active man, accustomed to boats 


and schooners, may become fully acquainted with every 
thing connected with this fishery in one season. The 
vessels best adapted for the purpose, are schooners of 
from seventy to eighty tons burthen, > manned with a 
crew of eight men, including the master. Each schooner 
requires two boats about twenty feet long, built Harrow 
and sharp, and with pink sterns ; and 220 fathoms of line 
are necessary in each boat, with spare harpoons and 
lances. The men row towards the whale, and when 
they are very near use paddles, which make less noise 
than oars* Whales are sometimes taken • fifteen 
minutes after they are struck with the harpoon, The 
Gaspfe fishermen never go out in quest of them before 
some of the small ones, which enter the bay about the 
beginning of June, appear : these swim too fast to be 
easily harpooned, and are not, besides, worth the 
trouble. The large whales are taken off the entrance 
of Gaspfe bay, on each side of the Island of Anticosti, 
and up the river St, Lawrence as far as Bique.* 

* On the north side of the St. Lawrence, some miles farther 
up than Isle de Bique, I saw in a small cove the skeletons of several 
whales, that had been taw erf ashore for the purpose ofetripping off 
the blubber, which was afterwards melted into oil in boilers which 
I observed fixed on shore for the purpose. In 1824, a whale, more 
than seventy feet in length, after proceeding further than the com- 
mon distance up the St Lawrence, apparently lostitfe usujal instinct, 
and still continued its course stopped by the shoals above 
Montreal, where it was killed 270 miles from salt water. 


Antfcosti is sRttated in the gulf, and near the 
entrance of the. great River St. Lawrence. It is with* 
in the latitudes of 49° 5', and 49° .55', and longitudes 
61° 54', 65° 30'. The whole of its north coast is high, 
and without harbours. The water close to the cliffs 
is very deep, and there are some coves where vessels 
may take shelter with the wind blowing off the land. 

The south shore is low $ the lands wet and swampy, 
and covered with birch and fir trees. There is a bar 
harbour near the west point, which will admit small 
vessels. It can scarcely be said, that this Island has 
any rivers, if that called Jupiter River be not an 
exception. On the south the water is shoal, but the 
soundings are regular; flat rocky reefs extend a 
considerable distance from the east, west, and some 
other points : sandy downs line a great part of the 
south coast, within which, there are lagoons or ponds, 
filled by small streams, running into them from the 
interior. During stormy weather and high tides, the 
sea frequently makes its way over the sands into these 
lagoons, out of which also, there are small streams 
running into the .gulf. 

Shipwrecks have frequently occurred along the 
shores of Anticosti, and the crews have in many 
instances perished after landing, from severe cold and 
want of food. 

Government has established a station with a 
family at each end of the Island, and posts, without 
inhabitants along the shore, with directions to per- 
sons who have escaped from shipwreck, where to 


Of the interior of this Island we know but little. 
It is covered with woods, chiefly dwarf spruce, white 
cedar, birch and poplar ; the trees appear to be all of 
low and stunted growth. Near the shore, the land 
appears unfit for cultivation. A few spots of tolerable 
soil are, it is true, met with ; but the want of harbours, 
and the severity of the climate, are insuperable ob- 
jections to its settlement : it is a seigneury under the 
Government of Canada, and belongs,! believe, to a 
private family at Quebec. The Indians, who on their 
hunting excursions, have penetrated into the interior* 
have informed me, that the lands are swampy or wet, 
with the exception of a few bills. 

Bears, foxes, hares, and sables, are very numerous. 
Partridges, snipes, curlews, plovers, &c. abound. 


This cluster of Islands is situated within the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence, 60 miles distant from Prince 
Edward Island, and 65 miles distant from Cape 
Breton. They are the property of Sir Isaac Coffin, 
who appears to take very little interest in them. The 
inhabitants, about 500 in number, are Acadian French, 
who live principally by the means of fishing. In 
the month of April, they go in their shallops,, among 
the fields of ice, that float in the Gulf, inquest of 
seals; and in summer, they employ themselves in 
fishing for Herring and Cod. 

The soil of these Islands is a light sandy loam, 



testing on freestone. It yields barley, oats, potatoes, 
and wheat would likely grow, but the quantity of soil 
fit for cultivation is no more than the fisherman will 
require for potatoe gardens, and a little pasture. 
Some parts are covered with spruce, birch, and juni- 
per trees ; others are formed into sandy downs, pro- 
ducing bent grass, cranberries, juniperberries, and 
various other wild fruits are very abundant. 

A few miles to the north, Brion and Bird Islands 
are situated. Multitudes of Aquatic Birds frequent 
them for the purpose of hatching. I have seen shal- 
lops loaded with eggs, in bulk, which tfere brought 
from these Islands for sale, to Nova Scotia and Prince 
Edward Island. 

The Magdalen Islands are under the Government 
of Canada, and the inhabitants are amenable to the 
courts at Quebec, 600 miles distant : a most incon- 
venient regulation, when they are so much nearer 
Prince Edward Island. 

There is a chapel, in which a priest, sent from 
Quebec, officiates. Plentiful fishing banks, from 
which the Americans of the United States derive the 
principal advantage, abound in every direction near 
these Islands. 

The descendants of the French, who settled in the 
colonies now possessed by Great Britain, ' are distin- 
guished by the appellations oiAcadiam and Canadians. 
The former were principally settled during the French 
government* in Nova Scotia, then called Acadia : the 
latter in Canada. The Acadians are now to be found 


(a* before mentioned) in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, 
Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton, always by 
themselves in distinct settlements. They are averse 
from settling, arnoog other people; and 1 have not 
been .able to discover more than four instances of 
their intermarrying with strangers. They profess the 
Roman Catholic faith, and observe the most rigid 
adherence to alLtbe fcjras of their Church. Their 
general character is. hongst and inoffensive. Religi- 
ously tenacious of tfyeir dress, and all the habits of 
their forefathers, .they ipsre no ambition, to. rise in the 
world above the condition in. which they have lived 
since their first setUii^g ia America. The dread of 
being exposed to the dejifciw of the rest, for attempt- 
ing to imitate the I^gUslj,, ^habitants, is one, if not 
the principal cause that prevents individuals among 
them, who would wilUn^yatyerthe^r dress, and habits,: 
from doing, so* . \ .'| (f , i***? ,iv:n •* 

In Prince Edwacd Iatemk 4feft Ai^dian women dress 
nearly in the same -way ; .$Pj#»p> ^ayaiaao broom-girls. 
On Sundays their clothe? ,aad?UQen look extremely 
dean and neat; and <$hey wear over their shoulders a 
small bine cloth cloak, reaching only half way down 
the body, and generally fastened at the breast with a 
brass broach. On week days they are more carelessly 
dressed, and they usually wear sabots (wood shoes.) 
The ipen dress in round blue cloth jackets, with strait 
collars, and metafl buttons set close together ; blue or 
scarlet waistcoats, and blue trowsers. Among all th* 
Acadian* m Prince Edward Island, I never knew btit 


one person who had tbe hardihood to drew differently 
from what they call "-riotrb fa9on •" On one occasion 
he ventured to put on an English coat* and he has 
never since, even among his relations, been called by 
his proper name, Joseph Gallant, which has been sup- 
planted by that of u Joe Peacock." 

At Arichat, the Acadians, both men and women, 
sometimes depart in their drfts from the fashions of 
the Acadians, and wear coats and gowns. At Cara- 
qoette, I observed also a partial deviation from their 
usual dress. Some of the men wearing coats, and a 
few of the women wearing gowns. The head dress of 
the women on the south side of the Bay de Chaleur, 
k, (believe, peculiar to themselves i instead *>£ tte 
Bavarian-like small caps, worn by all the other Acadi- 
aps, they delight in immense muslin cap's, in shape 
like a balloon. . » 

The women in all the fishing settlements are per* 
feet drudges. The men, after. splitting the fish, leave 
the whole labour of curing to the women, who have 
also to cook, nurse their children, plant their gairdtna, 
gather what little, corn they rais^ and spia add weave 
coarse cloth. The old worn clothe*, they either cut 
into small stripes, and weave as waft into coarse bed 
covers; or they untwist the threads into wool, which 
tHey again spin and make into cloth The Acadians 
are nearly destitute of education : scarcely any of 
tbe women, and few of the men, cbn read or write, 
and; like alt ignorant people, it matters not of What 
religion, are exceedingly bigotted and superstitious.* 

* I wm told by different persons in Prince Edward Island, 


They labour under, the koprestton, tbat justice is 
not, under the British Government puhpinifttejred 

the following anecdote. ' At St. Eleanor's, Colonel Com p ton, 
to whom the Township of St. Eleanor's belongs, lived about 
thirty years ago. Near his housq it a small river, the entrance of 
which opens early in the spring; at which time it is usually, fre- 
quented by flocks of wild geese. St. Eleanor's was then popu- 
lously settled with Acadian French ; and during the residence of 
€ofoael Gompton, one of the inhabitants, (Louis Arsenoux,) die^ 
without the usual consolatory at ten dan oe of a Clergyman, there 
being but one Priest at the time on the Island, who lived about 70 
miles distant, and Who could not, it appears, come* in time to -bear 
the confession of toe dying man* Louis, }t seems, was one of .those 
Acadians who did not surrender when the Island was taken ; and 
while lurking about in the woods, he found two Englishmen sleep- 
ing, during the summer beat, under thetsbade of a tree* Lttui* 
considering them his natural enemies, a* well as the, conquerors of 
hjs country, no scruple in killing them with his hatchet. The 
murder, however, made Louis miserable, and bis conscience was a 
most troublesome' one to him as* long as be lived ; although sis 
dying hour only developed the my sterious cause <>f" bis, misery; 4 
little after his death, a solitary wild foose made its appearance, in 
the opening of the ice, at the mouth of the river, near the village of 
St. Eleanor's. The young men : , who were • all considered such good 
stotiy as to*be able, to hit a goole atf. JO© yards, distance, with a 
mvafcet bait, fireij fluently, but ineffectually at this one ; which 
t|iey at last began to think . invulnerable. At this time, there was 
on visit at Colonel Compton's, an Irish Officer) belonging ttftntf 
troops stationed at Charlotte Town. . He had *Ub him an cpceaL; 
knt doubfe baneMed gun, and the Acadians beseeched him to 
tiy its viitues, by shooting the wondeiful goose. He accom- 
panied tl^em, CTept within shot of the, object, and being (although 
a -Catholic himself,) amused at their superstitious fears, he at the 
moment 1h> was apparently .going to fire, started up, as if in great 
tenor, and told the Acadians, that no one must attempt firing again 
at what they took for a wild goose, that his gun possessed the pecu- 
liar and wonderful property, when he aimed with it at a supernata- 
nt oojeet, of exhibiting it to him in its proper form, and that what 


impartially to them, in the courts of law; and this has 
arisen perhaps entirely from the conductof the justices 
of the peace ; many of whom, appointed in tbe settle- 
ments, are stupid- ignorant men; and I regret to say, 
that I have often known them to make iniquitous 
and unjust decisions against the Acadians. 

The descendants of the French, settled on the 
north side of the Bay de Chaleur* are mostly Acadi- 
ans $ but, from their intimate intercourse with Que- 
bec, and the Canadians, are a more intelligent and 
respectable people than the other Acadians, whom 
they, as well as the Canadians, denominate " Les 
Saurages.;" : o 

There is not probably in the world a more con- 
tented or happy people than the Canadian peasantry* 
They are, with few exceptions, in easy circumstances ; 
ind are fondly attached to the seigneurial mode of set- 
tling on lands. In all the Canadian settlements, the 
Parish Church is, the point around which the inhabi- 
tants Ifke to dwell ; and farther from it than the dis- 
tance at which the sound of its belt can be heard, 
none of them can jt>e reconciled to settle. They are 
not anxious to become. rich; but they always possess 
the necessary -comforts, and many of the luxuries of 

they bad vainly attempted to shodt, was tbe ghost of Louis Arseneax, 
who would doubtless haunt St Eleanor's until a Clergyman was 
sent for, to deliver his soul from the pains of purgatory. A deputa- 
tion of young men were immediately despatched for the Priest, the 
goose disappeared, anil the good Acadiam rejoiced in having per. . 
formed a religious duty, which tho felicity of their lost friend 
rendered necessary. 

CANADIAMft. 199 

tile. Tbeir food consists of bread, butter, cheese, 
milk, tea, fish, flesh meat, &c. dressed in their own 
style. They are fond of soups, which are seldom how- 
ever, even in Lent, of a meagre description. Every 
Canadian has one or two horses, drives his Calashe in 
summer, and Cabriolle in winter* Their /arms are 
small, and often subdivided among a fanely. Their 
system of agriculture is tardy, but so great is the 
fertility of the soil, that with very negligent culture, 
they always raise abundance for domestic consump- 
tion, and something to sell for the purchase of articles 
of convenience and luxury. 

We discover among the Canadians, the customs 
and manners that prevailed among the peasantry of 
France, daring the reign of Louis XIV. They are 
the legitimate descendants of the worshippers of that 
Monarch, and the Cardinal de Richlieu; and to this 
day a rigid adherence to national customs prevails 
among them : neither is example, nor the prospect of 
interest, sufficiently strong to induce them to adopt 
the more approved modes of husbandry, or any of the 
other methods of shortening labour, discovered during 
the last and present centuries. Contented to tread in 
the path beaten by their forefathers, they, in the same 
manner till the ground ; commit, in a like way, the 
same seeds to the earth ; and in the same style do they 
gather their harvest, feed their cattle, and prepare and 
cook their victuals. They eat, dine, and sleep at the 
same hours, and observe the same spirit in their devo- 
tions, with as ample a proportion of all the forma 
of their religion, as their ancestors. 


The amusements of former times are also com- 
mon among them, at their weddings, feasts, abd 
dances. They delight in driving in Calashes, and 
in Cabriolies : in dancing, fiddling, skating, &c.— 
After vespers, they pass the evenings of Sundays 
in diversions ; always, however, without disorder or 

Thahouses of the Canadians, are, with few excep- 
tions, built of wood ; and the outside walls painted 
or whitewashed. They generally contain a large 
kitchen and sitting room, and two or more bed rooms, 
partitioned with boards off the sides and ends. They 
have seldom more than one chimney, which is in the 
kitchen, and in which there is also a double stove ; 
and, in the sitting room, there is another. The . 
Churches, which are usually built of stone, with their 
neat spires cased with tin, are interesting features 
in the scenery along the banks of the St. Lawrence. 

Politeness seems natural to the Canadians. They 
never meet one another without putting a hand to the 
hat, or moving the head ; and the first thing taught a 
child is to say its prayers and make a bow, or curtsey, 
and speak respectfully to a stranger. Much merit is 
certainly due to the Priests : they watch carefully over 
the morals of their parishioners, and conduct them- 
selves, not only as individuals, hut as a body with 
praiseworthy correctness. 

No country has been treated with so much indul- 
gence, by its conquerors, as Canada; The Canadians 
not only enjoy in the fullest extent the free exercise 
of their own religion, with the revenue allowed under 


the French Government to support it ; but they are in 
ail civil matters governed by their own laws, accord- 
ing to the Costume de Paris, which is the text book; 
of the Canadian Lawyer. The revenue of the Catholic 
church in Canada I have alwpys considered enormous;, 
and if the clergy are not, and will not always continue 
to be, distinguished for more meekness, and want of . 
ambition as an ecclesiastical body, than the history of. 
the world has -hitherto afforded an example of, their 
wealth may before long be rendered dangerous to the* 
existence of the British Constitution in Canada.* 
Knowledge is power— so is wealth ; and the members 
of the Canadian Parliament are tfot such ignorant men 
as many imagine : neither do the Catholic clergy want: 
intelligence. The wealth of the clergy with the influence 
whieh they atidthe seigneurs (or lords of the manors,) 
possess over the people will, iftthey find' it their interest, ! 
enable them to shake the authority of any governor.. 
At the same time, I do not believe that there is in the 
world a more peaceable, or more tractable people than 
the Canadians. From, interest, as well as gratitude, 
they are bound to feel a strong attachment for the 
British Constitution. And they are well assured that, 
were they subject to the government of the United 
States, they would not be blessed with the mighty 
privileges which they now enjoy. Whether principles 
now exist, that will hereafter unfold themselves in 
effecting the independence of the Canadas, is at 

" See note N. 
2 d 


present extremely speculative. The retention of Can- 
ada daring, and since, the American revolutionary war, 
and the brave resistance made last war by the Cana- 
dian Militia, mast be attributed to the privileges and 
advantages which the people of Lower Canada enjoy 
under the British Government; and not to any animo- 
sity they cherished towards the citizens of the United 

• The district of Gaspe affords many tracts of soil 
fit for the raising of wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, &c; 
and the climate, although nearly as cold in winter as , 
in Sweden, is, in summer and harvest, very warm, and 
of sufficient length to ripen to perfection all the 
kinds of grains arid vegetables that grow in England. 
The ungranted fertile lands are capable of receiving, 
and supporting a population of forty to fifty thousand; 
but it would not be wise., to locate more than 2008 
annually. ! - » 



General Deecriptloii, fee..... Climate.... Principal Settlements.. 
Soil, Agriculture, and ProducRooi Labrador, &c, 

Thb Island of Newfoundland is situated nearer to 
Europe than any of tke Islands, or any part of the 
Continent, of America, and Iks within the latitudes of 
46°, 40', and 51°, 37, and longitudes of 52°, 25', 
59°, 15\ 

It approaches to a triangular form, and it is broken 
and indented with broad and deep bays, and With 
innumerable harbours, coves, and rivers. Its configu- 
ration is wild and rugged, and its aspect from the sea 
is far from prepossessing, which' was likely the cause 
of unfavourable opinions respecting its settlement 
having been entertained. 

The interior of this large island regained un- 
explored since its discovery, until Mr. Cormack, in 
1823, accompanied by Indians, undertook and accom- 
plished an arduous journey across the island, from 
Trinity Bay to St. George's Bay. He found the 


country broken and intersected with rivers and lakes ; 
the general structure of the soil, rocky, with numerous 
tracts of moss, and with very little wood except on the 
banks of the rivers, where poplars, birches, and spruce 
firs grow. He found granite to prevail as the base of 
the soil, and schistus, red sandstone, quartz, gypsum, 
limestone predominated on the surface. He also dis- 
covered specimens of iron and copper, and met with 
red, white, and black ochres, sulphuret of iron, &c. 
Near the centre of the island, he discovered a beautiful 
block of Labrador felspar, the largest known, being 
about 4 feet by 2£ feet. ' 

Although Newfoundland was the first discovered 
of all the British colonies, yet it is, in reality, the 
most imperfectly known in Great Britain : it has been 
described as thickly wooded, which is not the case ; 
trees of any size are only found within the bays near 
the water, and along the rivers ; and on the Atlantic 
coast there is but little wood of any value, except for 
fuel, and the building of small boats. 

In the northern parts of the island, where the 
most extensive forests abounded, fires have destroyed 
the largest trees, which have been succeeded by .those 
of a different and smaller species ; so that although 
the island has probably a sufficient quantity of wcod 
growing on it for its own use ; yet it certainly cannot 
afford to export any, nor can it supply, as has been 
asserted, large masts for the navy. 

The climate has generally been misrepresented, 
and declared to be unusually severe, humid, and dis- 


agreeable : on the east and south coasts, when the 
winds blow from the sea, humidity certainly prevails, 
and during winter the cold is severe. The harbours 
on the Atlantic shore are not so long frozen over as the 
most southerly of those within the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence. On the west coast from Cape Ray, north, 
and in the interior, the atmosphere is generally clear, 
and the climate is much the same as that of the 
district of Gaspfe, in lower Canada. There is no 
country where the inhabitants enjoy better health, 
or where, notwithstanding the fatigue and hardships 
to which a fisherman's life is subjected, more of them •■ 
attain (to longevity. 

During the summer months the days and nights, 
are, with few exceptions, very pleasant. ' The temper- 
ature of the atmosphere is indeed frequently hot about 
mid-day, and often oppressively so ; but in the 
mornings and evenings, and at night, exceedingly 

As there are nearly five degrees of latitude between 
the southern and northern points of Newfoundland, it 
follows that there is a considerable difference in the 
duration and severity of winter ; the climate of Con- 
ception Bay may probrfbly be considered as possessing 
the mean temperature of the island. The most dis- 
agreeable periods are the setting in and breaking up 
of winter ; and especially at the time when the large 
fields of ice that are formed in the hyperborean regions, 
are carried along the coast by the northerly winds and 


The population of Newfoundland is about 90,000, 
consisting of English, Scotch, and Irish, or their 
immediate descendants,; the natives, now dwindled to 
a few families of Mic-macs, Mountaineers and Boethics 
(Red Indians) are not included. 

The principal settlements are St. John's, the seat 
of government; Harbour Grace, Carboneer, and seve- 
ral other smaller places in Conception Bay. In Trinity 
Bay, and also in Bonavista Bay, there are several set* 
tlements. The most northerly permanent plantation 
is on the small island of Twillingate, off Exploits' Bay, 
in latitude 49°. 

Between St. John's and Cape Race, the principal 
harbours and settlements are Bay of Bulls, Brigus, 
Cape Broyle Harbour, Ferryland, Fermoae, and 

Ferryland is the oldest place in Newfoundland, 
audi there is a considerable extent of the surrounding 
land under cultivation ; it was planted originally by 
Lord Baltimore. 

In 'ftepassy Bay, between Cape Race and. Cape 
Freels, there are several families settled, In the south 
part of the island there are three great bays, namely, 
St. Mary's, Piacentia, and Fortifte : these have within 
them countless harbours, and contain a great part of 
the population of Newfoundland. 

Piacentia was tt(e chief settlement which France 
planted; they had it strongly defended, and endeavour- 
ing* at that period, to drive the English altogether out 
of the fisheries, were frequently molesting and 


annoying theft). There are but few inhabitants in 
the district between Fortune Bay and Cape Ray : it is 
every where indented, like the east coast of Nova 
Scotia, which it resembles, with harbours ; but the 
lands, especially near the sea, are rocky, thinly wooded, 
and with scarcely any soil fit for cultivation. On the 
west coast, particularly at St. George'S Bay; where 
there is a settlement, there are tracts of excellent landi 
with deep and fertile soils, and coveTed in many places 
with heavy timber: cdal, limestone, and gypsum- 
abound in great plenty in this part of the island. 

At the heads of the bays and along the rlviers there 
are many tracts of land formed of deposits washed from 
the hills; the soil of which tracts is of much the same' 
quality as that of the Savannahs- in the interior of 
America. These lands might be converted into excel- f 
lent meadows, arid- if drained, to carry off the water 
which 1 covers them fafter the stiOws dissolve, they » 
would yield excellent barley, oatsy &c. The rich pas* > 
turage whicfr the island Affords, adapts it in an emitttat ^ 
degree to the breeding and raising of ttMleaAd sheep, 
and I believe that it might produce a suffictefrt^u&n* » 
tity of beef to supply' its fisheries. 

From the earliest period of the settlement of New- 
foundland down to the present time,; objections have 
been made and obstacles have been raised 1 h) order <o 
discourage its cultivation. That the fisheries of this 
colony constitute its political and commercial value- 
and importance, • no one acquainted with ft can deny ; 
but, at the same time* when we consider the depressed > 


state of its fishery ever since the French and Americans, 
with the eminent ad vantages they possess, (particularly 
(he French)* obtained a participation of this great 
branch of- our conamerce, I have no, hesitation in as- 
serting that were it not from ike awMaxj sup- 
port .which the inhabitants derived for the, /Cultiva- 
tion of* the %oil, they could not hare existed by the 
production of (he fisheries alonu ; .and. as thejr other- 
wise would have had to remove tp the neighbouring 
colonies or to the United States, the probable conse- 
quence would be, that the Americans and French 
would before this have enjoyed the benefit of expelling 
us altogether from supplying foreign, markets with 
fish. ■ . . .- ■.-..,. .«' • 

, la comparing Newfoundland tq apy other, country, 
I consider that t tW western HigW^uds of Scotland 
bear a striking resemblance to it, ^nd therein nothing 
that theater wiUpipd^ce but what ,wilhgcow in the. 
fopmen The* winters of Newfoufnd}atid> it is true,, are 
colder,: but in summer, again the;. gather i* lot a con- 
siderable time very, hot j and there j$ not so much bog . 
or moss land in Newfoundland, except in the northern 
parts, as in the western Highlands. 

The natural productions of Newfoundland are trees 
of, the fir Irifees, poplars, birches, a few maple trees, 
wiM cherry tr^es, and a great variety of shrub*: blue- 
berries and cranberries* grow in greM abundance, also 
small red strawberries, and several o$h$r kinds of. 
wild fir uAt. English cherrus, black,, red, and white 
curranUp gooseberries, ft* ; rip#n ia. perfection. 

NaturaLgrassestgrow, particularly in thcplains, all over 
the country. The wild animals are bean, -deer, wolves, 
foxes, otters, martins, minks, muskrats, squirrels, and 
all the aquatic and land birds common*to the northern 
parts of ^America. . Musquitos are in many .parts 
numerous and troublesome; and a great variety of 
other insects are common. 

The Newfoundland dog is a celebrated and useful 
animal, well known. These dogs are -remarkably 
docile and obedient to their masters ; they are vesv 
serviceable in all the fishing plantations, and are-yoked 
in pairs and used to haul the winter fuel home. They 
are gentle, faithful, and ^good-natured, and ever a 
friend to man ; at whose command they will leap into 
the water from the highest -precipice, and in the 
coldest weather. They are remarkably voracious, but 
can endure, (like the aborigines of thecountty/) hunger 
for a r great leqgth of time, ami they sere usually fed 
upon the worst of salted fish. The true -breed has 
become scarce and difficult to be met with, except on 
the Coast of Labrador. 

The Coast of Labrador, in consequence of , fbe 
fisheries carried oh in its harbours, is more intimatefy 
connected with Newfoundland than with any cfthfer 
part of North America. 

This vast country, equal in square miles to the 
British Isles, France, Spain, and Germany, does no*, 
including all the nati ves,<possess a thousand inhabitants. 

Its surface is as sterile and naked as any part of 
the globe. Rocks, swamps, and water, are its pre- 
ft e 


vailing features; and in tliis inhospitable country; 
which extends from 50* to 64° north latitude, and from 
the longitude of 56* west, on the Atlantic, to that of 
78° west, on Hudson's Bay, vegetation only appears 
as the last efforts of expiring nature. Small scraggy 
poplar, stunted firs, creeping birch, and dwarf willows, 
thinly scattered in the southern parts, form the whole 
catalogue of trees ; and herbs and grass are also in 
sheltered places met with ; but in the most northerly 
parts different varieties of moss and the lichen are the 
only signs of vegetation. 

The climate is, in severity, probably as cold as 
at the poles of the earth, and the summer of short dura- 
tion. Yet, with all these disadvantages, this country, 
which is, along its coasts, indented with excellent har- 
bours, and which has its shores frequented by vast 
multitudes of fishes, is of great importance to Great 
Britain. The whole of the interior of Labrador 
appears, from the aspect of what has been explored, 
and from the reports of the Esquimaux and other 
Indians, to be broken up with rivers, lakes, and rocks. 
The wild animals, which are principally bears, wolves, 
foxes, otters, and beavers, are not numerous, but 
their furs are remarkably close and beautiful. 

Insects are, during the short space of hot weather, 
numerous in swampy places. In winter they exist in 
b frozen state ; and, in this condition, when introduced 
to the influence of solar heat, or the warmth of fire, 
are soon restored to animation. 


The phenomenon of Aurora Borealis is uncommonly 
brilliant in Labrador ; and I have no doubt but that 
it possesses, from the increased and increasing variation 
of the compass, a most powerful magnetic influence ; 
but this I leave to the determination of the speculative 
philosopher. Minerals are said to abound in Labra- 
dor, but very little is known either of its geology or 


vailing features; and in this inhospitable country, 
which extends from 50° to 64° north latitude, and from 
the longitude of 56* west, on the Atlantic, to that of 
78° west, on Hudson's Bay, vegetation only appears 
qs the last efforts of expiring nature. Small scraggy 
poplar, stunted firs, creeping birch, and dwarf willows, 
thinly scattered in the southern parts, form the whole 
catalogue of trees ; and herbs and grass are also in 
sheltered places met with ; but in the most northerly 
parts different varieties of moss and the lichen are the 
only signs of vegetation. 

The climate is, in severity, probably as cold as 
at the poles of the earth, and the summer of short dura- 
tion. Yet, with all these disadvantages, this country, 
which is, along its coasts, indented with excellent har- 
bours, and which has its shores frequented by vast 
multitudes of fishes, is of great importance to Great 
Britain. The whole of the interior of Labrador 
appears, from the aspect of what has been explored, 
and from the reports of the Esquimaux and other 
Indians, to be broken up with rivers, lakes, and rocks. 
The wild animals, which are principally bears, wolves, 
foxes, otters, and beavers, are not numerous, but 
their furs are remarkably close and beautiful. 

Insects are, during the short space of hot weather, 
numerous in swampy places. In winter they exist in 
a frozen state ; and, in this condition, when introduced 
to the influence of solar heat, or the warmth of fire, 
are soon restored to animation. 


The phenomenon of Aurora Borealis is uncommonly 
brilliant in Labrador ; and I have no doubt but that 
it possesses, from the increased and increasing variation 
of the compass, a most powerful magnetic influence ; 
but this I leave to the determination of the speculative 
philosopher. Minerals are said to abound in Labra- 
dor, but very little is known either of its geology or 


vailing features; and in this inhospitable country; 
which extends from 50° to 64° north latitude, and from 
the longitude of 56* west, on the Atlantic, to that of 
78° west, on Hudson's Bay, vegetation only appears 
qs the last efforts of expiring nature. Small scraggy 
poplar, stunted firs, creeping birch, and dwarf willows, 
thinly scattered in the southern parts, form the whole 
catalogue of trees ; and herbs and grass are also in 
sheltered places met with ; but in the most northerly 
parts different varieties of moss and the lichen are the 
only signs of vegetation. 

The climate is, in severity, probably as cold as 
at the poles of the earth, and the summer of short dura- 
tion. Yet, with all these disadvantages, this country, 
which is, along its coasts, indented with excellent har- 
bours, and which has its shores frequented by vast 
multitudes of fishes, is of great importance to Great 
Britain. The whole of the interior of Labrador 
appears, from the aspect of what has been explored, 
and from the reports of the Esquimaux and other 
Indians, to be broken up with rivers, lakes, and rocks. 
The wild animals, which are principally bears, wolves, 
foxes, otters, and beavers, are not numerous, but 
their furs are remarkably close and beautiful. 

Insects are, during the short space of hot weather, 
numerous in swampy places. In winter they exist in 
b frozen state ; and, in this condition, when introduced 
to the influence of solar heat, or the warmth of fire, 
are soon restored to animation. 


The phenomenon of Aurora Borealis is uncommonly 
brilliant in Labrador ; and I have no doubt but that 
it possesses, from the increased and increasing variation 
of the compass, a most powerful magnetic influence ; 
but this I leave to the determination of the speculative 
philosopher. Minerals are said to abound in Labra- 
dor, but very little is known either of its geology or 


vailing features; and in this inhospitable country, 
which extends from 50* to 64° north latitude, and from 
the longitude of 56° west, on the Atlantic, to that of 
78° west, on Hudson's Bay, vegetation only appears 
qs the last efforts of expiring nature. Small scraggy 
poplar, stunted firs, creeping birch, and dwarf willows, 
thinly scattered in the southern parts, form the whole 
catalogue of trees ; and herbs and grass are also in 
sheltered places met with ; but in the most northerly 
parts different varieties of moss and the lichen are the 
only signs of vegetation. 

The climate is, in severity, probably as cold as 
at the poles of the earth, and the summer of short dura- 
tion. Yet, 'with all these disadvantages, this country, 
which is, along its coasts, indented with excellent har- 
bours, and which has its shores frequented by vast 
multitudes of fishes, is of great importance to Great 
Britain. The whole of the interior of Labrador 
appears, from the aspect of what has been explored, 
and from the reports of the Esquimaux and other 
Indians, to be broken up with rivers, lakes, and rocks. 
The wild animals, which are principally bears, wolves, 
foxes, otters, and beavers, are not numerous, but 
their furs are remarkably close and beautiful. 

Insects are, during the short space of hot weather, 
numerous in swampy places. In winter they exist in 
a frozen state ; and, in this condition, when introduced 
to the influence of solar heat, or the warmth of fire, 
are soon restored to animation. 


The phenomenon of Aurora Borealis is uncommonly 
brilliant in Labrador ; and I have no doubt but that 
it possesses, from the increased and increasing variation 
of the compass, a most powerful magnetic influence ; 
but this I leave to the determination of the speculative 
philosopher. Minerals are said to abound in Labra- 
dor, but very little is known either of its geology or 


In 1774; however, farther application, by petition 
to the King! was made for a governor ; and the petition 
being referred to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, 
their Lordships proposed, that all plantations in New- 
foundland should be discouraged ; and that the com- 
mander of the convoys should compel the inhabitants 
to depart from the island, by putting in execution one 
of the conditions of the Western Charter. His Ma- 
jesty was induced to approve of this report ; and under 
its sanction the most cruel and wanton acts were com- 
mitted on the inhabitants : their houses were burnt, and 
a variety of Bevere and arbitary measures reBorted to 
for the purpose of driving them from the country. 

The extent, to which the cruelties committed on 
the inhabitants had been carried, induced Sir John 
Berry, the commander of the convoy about this time, 
td represent to Government the policy of colonizing 
Newfoundland*. His advice, however, was not attended 

In 1676, on the representation of one John Down- 
ing, a resident inhabitant, His Majesty directed that 
none of the Settlers should be disturbed : "but in the 
following year, in pursuance of an order in Council, 
that had been made on the petition of the Western 
Adventurers, the Committee of Trade, &c. reported, 
that notwithstanding a clause in the Western Char- 
ter, prohibiting the transport to Newfoundland of 
any person, but such as were of the ship's company, 
the magistrates of the western; ports did permit passen- 
gers and private boat-keepers to transport themselves 

thither, to the injury of the fishery ; : and they ware of 
opinion, that the abuse might hereafter be presented 
by those magistrates, the vice-admirals, and' also by 
the officers of the customs. 

A petition, on the pdrt of the inhabitants «of New* 
fbundland, soon followed this representation) and 'in 
order to investigate the matter fully, it was ortlered 
that the adventurers and planters should each behe&rd 
by • their counsel. The question *was : ' thus 1 ' seriously 
atrgued, and afterwards referred, as formerfy, to'the 
Committee for Trade; hut ho report seems to have 
been made on this occasion, and no steps for regulating 
the settlement or fishery' of Newfoundland were adopted 
until the Board of Trade, instituted in January 1<59*7< 
took tip the Subject among others thai come under 
their province. Th^y made a report, which, however, 
applied more to the' defence of the island than to its 
civil regulations/ and Went no further than to express 
an opinion,' that * a moderate number of planters, nbt 
exceeding one thousand, wetettsgful in the construc- 
tion of boats, stages, and other necessaries, for the 
fisheries J" >"**■ '• ■■' - <\ 

■ The obstacles to the settling of 'Newfoundland arbW 1 
oat of the eontending interests df the resident inha- 
bitants and those of the merchants residing in England; 
add the adventurers sent by them to Newfoundland. 

■ fei 1698 the Statute 10'arid 11, #illiam and Mary, 
cap. >M\ entitled "An Act to encourage the tiadfe 
of Newfoundland" passed ; but, as the substance 
of this Act appears to embody* ' the' poliey of former* 


392 NEWFOiraiDLAND. 


Anne on the subject of the better execution of laws in J 
Newfoundland, when it was, as usual, referred to the 
Board of Trade, which only went so far as to get the 
opinion of the^ Attorney General on the statute of King 
William.. ; « »- • «- i><- ' i 

Two. years after, fifteen very useful regulations, 
were agreed upon at St. John's, for the better dicipKne 
and good. older of the people, and for correcting 
irregularities, contrary <to jgood laws and Acts of Parlia- 
ment. > < »■ • \ >.i\' ■'•>,■ 'I'.". 

These regulations, or by-laws, were debated and 
resolved on at courts, or meetings, held at St. John's ; 
where were present, ahdthad all a voice, • a mixed 
assemblage of merchants, masters of merchant ships, 
and planters. - ; 'This anomalous assembly formed * M the 
time a kind of' public body, exercising r executive, 
judicial, and legislative-power: <: • •«■•• 

By the treaty' of f Utrecht, m^ 1713, Hlacentia, and 
all other parte of Newfoundland occupied by the ft-ench, 
were, . in full ^aveneignty, ceded 1 to 'Gfceat Britain : » the 
French, however, retaining a license to come -&&& go 
during the fishing season.- vt ; :■■ ■ « ' - '* ='■••' 

The Guipuseaans were also* in an ambiguous 
manner, acknowledged to have a claim; as a matter 
of right, to a participation in the fibhidry ; which the 
Board of Trade declared afterwatds> in 1718, to be 
inadmissible. •»' 

Government, about this time, as well as the mer- 
chants, began to direct their attention to the trade of 
theislaftd with riiore spirit than they had hitherto shown. 


A* captain Taverner was commissioned to survey its 
coasts. A hentehata- governor was appointed to ebm* 
raand the fort at Ptecentia; J and a Bbipof war kept 
crtiidng roond the island to keep the French at theft 

In 17*9 it was concluded, principally' through the 
representation of Lord Vere Beauclerk, the commander 
on the station, to' establish some permanent govern- 
ment, which ended as Mr. Reeves observes, in the 
appointment, "not of a person skilled in the law, "as 
had been proposed, but a captain Henry Osbofne, 
commander of His Majesty's ship the Squirrel" -Lord 
Vere Beauclerk, who set sail for Newfoundland with 
the governor in the summer of' this year, received a 
boi containing eleven sets of Shaw's Practical Justice 
of the Peace ; being one each for the following places, 
which were respectively impressed on the covers in. 
gold tetters : — "Placentio, St. John*?, * Garboneer, 
Bay of Bulky Ferryland, Trepassey, Bay de Ftrd, 
Trinity Bay, Bonavista, and Old Parlekin, in New- 
foundland ;" together with thirteen copies of the 
statute of King William, and the Acts relating to the 
navigation and trade of the kingdom. 

The commission delivered to captain Osborne, 
revoked so much of .the commission to the governor of 
Nova Scotia as related to * Newfoundland. It then 
goes on to appoint captain Osborne governor of the 
island of Newfoundland, and gives him authority to 
administer oaths to justices of the peace, and other 
officers whom he may appoint under him, for the better 

2g4 N«WJWtf>f9l<Ati0. 

irfiWHfliiratipq of jottta, »d keeping the petct pf the 
UhwA He .<wm <efi»pow*red* alio* to erect a rant* 
fawtfe And prisma,, aod all o&serit; civil and jpjiiaary, 
fWi* dirattti to fttd*i*d otfift &m ip fronting to 

TV petty jmloiHJfe? wd iflJteWt . §f tb<? fofcing 
tdmirftk* &<m&aiit*j wd pj*pfer*v prftrwtod Osborne 
fti4h*s meefitiraj fpr &pwpd<rf twenty jm**s> from 
S3jry«ig irt<^ &eratio* the olye&t* »d* Jttg»l**iQW 
gpntyi&ed, in tfcey c*mtti#4ftoit9 .apd M&iraetioi* 
Indeed the »»t di*$*ac<rful ^pp#iUw to tb» civil 
g<w#rarefit ww made, p*ri*>»J*rly by the jfofti« 
oimrgh* Qowpltim vm# frequently pradwjed on 
boftb Aid**, wd it is probata, m wwaj in *wb oases, 
tbtrtMoh of the cpntw^iQg p* tit* were m fault. The 
&ggftgs9i*, towevet, irere jwsisredly those wfcoppppsed 
tfoe «ivij ao&ority, and whose <?Qpdwt<de^Jy shewed 
that ttalf ojyest , was to dsfriw the resident inj*a- 
btf#t*ts. of a)l pgafiffttipn fr<W» govejBTOapt. This 
CMt$st^oo«mi«d«ntiU H w#s fp»ad that, bis Majesty's 
ofeiis&rs wm *«K>lv#d &P* *Q withdraw tf*e civil 

In the commission of the peace, for the jslaod, the 
jwttoe* were Trained frpm proceeding ip> cases of 
dpudtrt oj diffictrlty—such as robberies, murders* felonies, 
aad.alj capj^i qffen^ft. From this restrict^ a, sqhject 
pf QWfWkltbte dtftarity WPd inppnveniepce arose, 
as pmoOft wfep.bad ponfc»itted septal fefcrai<* **w*ld 
PftJy bfe ^iei» Eftglaftd; mim 175) ft. c^fpjmwipD 

wm iwaedto 6ftpt*fa» William ? jf|D|^ Jfe»k** m- 


powering him to appoint commissioners of oyer and 
terminer for the trial of felons at Newfoundland. . 

A claim was presented in 1754, by Lord Baltimore, 
to that part of the island originally, granted to. his 
ancestor, and named by him " the province of Avaton." 
This claim was declared inadmissible by the. Board of 
Trade, agreeable to the opinion of the law officers ; 
and it has since then been relinquished. . 

The peace of 1763, by which we acquired all the 
French possessions in North America, opened a most 
favourable opportunity for extending the fishery, to 
the decided advantage of these kingdoms; and the 
Board of Trade, in bringing the subject under their 
consideration, applied for information to the towns in 
the west of England, as well as to Glasgow, Belfast, 
Cork, and Waterford, which had for some time been 
engaged in the trade. In the year following a col- 
lector and comptroller of the customs . were estab- 
lished at St. John's* .This. measure and the consequent 
introduction of the navigation laws, was complained 
of by the merchants in the same way as the appointing 
commissioners of the peace, and of oyer and terminer. 

The French, always, but now more than ever, 
anxious about their fishery, insisted on their having a 
right to the western coast, for the. purpose of fishing, 
as far south as Cape Ray; maintaining that it properly 
was "Point Riche," mentioned in the treaty of Utrecht. 
This claim embraced near two hundred miles of the 
west coast of Newfoundland more than what they had 
a right to by treaty; and their authority being founded 



only on an old map of Herman Moll, was shown, with 
great accuracy, by the. Board of Trade, to be alto- 
gether inadmissible. The coast of Labrador was, in 
1763, separated froto Canada and annexed to the 
government of Newfoundland. This was a very judi- 
cious measure ; but as the chief object of those who 
at that time frequented Labrador was the seal [fishery? 
the Board of Trade, at the recommendation principally 
of Sir Hugh Paliffer, considered it unwise policy to 
separate Labrador from the jurisdiction of Canada ; 
and, accordingly, recommended his Majesty to reannex 
it. This was effected in 1774;* and in the following 
year an act was passed, the spirit of which was to 
defend and support the system of ship fishing carried 
on from England. Its principal regulations were, that 
the privilege of drying fish on the shores, should be 
limited to his Majesty's subjects arriving at Newfound- 
land from Great Britain and Ireland, or any of the 
British dominions in Europe. This law set at rest all 
that bad been agitated in favour of the colonists. 

The American revolutionary war, during its con- 
tinuance, affected, in a very injurious degree, the 
affairs of Newfoundland. A bill passed in parliament 
prohibiting the people of New England from fishing 
at Newfoundland. This measure was loudly and 
strongly opposed by the merchants of London. The 
reasons alleged by ministers were, that as the colonies 
had entered into agreement not to trade with Britain, 
we were entitled to prevent them- from trading with 
any other country. Their charter restricted them to 
• 14 Geo. III. cap. 83, commonly called the Quebec Act. 


the Act of Navigation ; the relaxations from it were 
favors, to which, by their disobedience, they had no 
farther interest. The Newfoundland fisheries were the 
ancient property of Great Britain, and disposable 
therefore at her will and discretipn : it was no more 
than just to deprive rebels of them. To this it was 
contended, that it was. beneath the character of a 
civilized people to. molest poor fishermen, or to deprive 
the wretched inhabitants of a sea. coast of their food ; 
and that the fisheries being also the medium through 
which, they settled their accounts with Britain, the 
cutting them off from this resource would only tend to 
put a stop to .their remittances to England. 

The fishermen also, would, by this measure, be 
driven, into the immediate service of rebellion. They 
would man privateers, and would accelerate the levies 
of troops the colonies were making ; and being hardy 
and robust men, would prove the best recruits that 
could be found.* All this unfortunately happened. 

Frpm the evidence, brought in support of their 
petition, by the London merchants, it appears, that 
the four New. England provinces employed in the 
fisheries of Newfoundland and the banks alone, about 
48,000 tons of shipping, and from 6000 to 7000 sea- 
men; and, that ten years before, since which time 
the fisheries had greatly increased, the produce of 
the fisheries in foreign markets amounted to £35,000. 
What rendered them particularly valuable was, that 
all the materials used in them (the salt for curing, and 
the timber for building the vessels, excepted,) were 
• Andrews' History of the American War, Vol. 1, p. 339. 


purchased in Britain ; and that the nett proceeds were 
remitted in payment. 

But the merchants of Poole and other' places, 
engaged in the Newfoundland fishery, presented a 
second petition, in direct opposition to that of London. 
It represented, that the bill against the New England 
fishermen would not prove detrimental to the trade of 
Britain ; which was fully able, with proper exertions, 
to supply the demands of foreign markets ; that the 
British Newfoundland fishery bred a great number of 
hardy seamen, peculiarly fit for the service of the 
navy; whereas, the New England seamen were, by 
Act of Parliament, exempt from being pressed : that 
the fishing from Britain to Newfoundland employed 
about four hundred ships, amounting to 360,000 tons, 
and two thousand shallops of 20,000 tons ; navigated 
by 20,000 seamen. 600,000 quintals of fish were taken 
every season, the returns of which were annually worth, 
on a moderate computation, ,£500,000. 

The New England colonies, in return, adverted to 
all the mean?, in their power, of distressing Britain, 
effectually, in her American concerns ; and, to effect 
this measure, strictly prohibited the supplying of the 
British fishery on the banks of Newfoundland with any 
provisions whatsoever. 

This was a proceeding wholly unexpected in Eng- 
land. The ships fitted out for that fishery, on arriv- 
ing at Newfoundland, found their operations arrested, 
for want of provisions ;• and not only the crews of 
the ships, but those who were settled in the harbours, 


were in eminent danger of perishing by famine. In- 
stead of prosecuting the fishing business they came 
upon, the ships were constrained to make the best of 
their way to England and other places, for provisions. 

In addition to this obstruction to the fisheries, 
natural causes co-operated. During the fishing season 
a storm, more terrible than ever known in these lati- 
tudes, arose, attended with circumstances unusually 
dreadful and destructive. The sea, according to vari- 
ous accounts, rose from twenty to thirty feet above its 
ordinary level; and so suddenly, that no time was given 
to prepare against its effects. Some ships foundered, 
with their whole crews ; and more than seven hundred 
fishing crafts perished, with a great majority of' the 
people in them. The sea broke in upon the lands 
where fish-houses, flakes, &c. were erected, and occa- 
sioned vast loss and destruction. 

By the third Article of the Treaty of Peace, signed 
at Paris in 1783, it was agreed that the people of the 
United States should enjoy, unmolested, the right to 
take fish on the batiks of Newfoundland, and in the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence ; and, also, at all other places 
in the sea where they previously used to fish, and on 
the coast of Newfoundland ; but, not to cure their fish 
on that island. It was also agreed, that provisions 
might be imported to the British Colonies in British 
bottoms. This was strongly opposed by the western 
merchants, but unsuccessfully ; and in 1788, upon the 
representations of the merchants connected with Canada 
it was proposed to bring a bill into Parliament for 


preventing entirely, the supply of bread, floor, and 
livestock, from the United States ; but this intention 
was abandoned, and the mode of occasional supply 

The Board of Trade. was abolished in 1782, and 
for the last years of its existence, scarcely any appears 
on its records relative to Newfoundland. Matters 
of trade and plantations were, for some years afterwards, 
managed by a committee of council, appointed in 

By this time the practice of hearing and determin- 
ing civil causes became a cause of frequent complaint. 
Hitherto, no court of civil jurisdiction had been 
provided for the colony ; and wJiiLe the island remained 
merely a fishery, carried on by vessels frdm England, 
the- causes of actions were not of great magnitude; 
but now that the population had. frterefu^ed to consider- 
able numbers, and heavy mercantile dtialitfgs were 
frequent among them, discontent vose,; from June to 
time, that led to the establishment of a j#w tqotirt, 
by a commission to Admiral Milbaoke, who #43 ft « n t 
out as governor in 1789. But, as heavy complaints 
were preferred by the merchants; as well as the plan- 
ters, against the proceedings of this court,. an Act 
passed in 1792, empowering the governor, with the 
advice of the chief justice, to institute surrogate courts 
of civil jurisdiction in different parts qf the island. 
Hk& first chief-justice was Mr. Reeves, who published 
an interesting account of Newfoundland, with Acts of 
Parliament relative to its government. He was sue- 



ceeded (with the exception of the present judge, and 
his predecessor,) by weak men, who were usually 
influenced by their interests or their passions. 

The surrogate courts became, at once, grievous 
and exceedingly objectionable, as the judges were no 
other than the commanders, or lieutenants of His 
Majesty's ships on. the station ; the pursuits • and 
education of whom could not qualify them, however just 
their intentions were, for comoetent expounders of the 
intricate labyrinth of commercial laws. At? the same 
time, it is but justice to remark, that the task was by no 
means agreeable to many of those officers; and, with few 
exceptions, if they erred, it was not from the influence x 
of fear or interest, but from an* ignorance of matters 
that no one should expect them to understand. But in 
this way the jurisdiction of Newfoundland was conduct- 
ed until 1&24, when> a bill was passed, intitled " an Act 
for the better administration of justice in Newfoundland; 
and other purposes. 1 ' This Act, like all others passed, 
relative to Newfoundland, is experimental, and limited 
to continue in force only for five years. By the provisions 
of this Act, a chiefrjudge and two asssistant judges are 
appointed, and the island divided into three districts, 
in each of which a court is held annually. The regu- 
lations of this law are considered, by many residing 
both in the island and in connexion with the colony, 
in England, as not adapted to Newfoundland. One 
of the objections is, the salary of the judges/ and the 
expense connected with their travelling, or going and 
returning by water to and from different parts of the 



Some of the old laws, which were probably neces- 
sary at the time they were passed, are still in forcej 
and considered at the present time highly objectionable. 
One, in particular, the tendency of which was very 
clearly explained to me by an intelligent gentleman,* 
residing many years at St. John's, and lately returned 
from that place. By this law, which is of many years 
standing, and which I certainly consider to have been 
necessary at the time it was enacted, the merchant who 
famishes the planters or fishermen with supplies in the 
early part of the season, has a lien on their property, 
of whatever kind ; but only for the whole of that season; 
and the consequence is, that if the planter or fisherman 
be so unfortunate, which very frequently happens, as 
not to take a sufficient quantity of fish to pay for the 
supplies, the merchant, as he must lose his claim 
altogether if he allow it to remain over till the follow- 
ing season, is under the necessity of seizing on all his 
debtor has, as it would otherwise fall into the hands 
of the merchants who supplied the same person the 
ensuing year. If this law were modified, so as to give 
the merchant a lien only on the fish, oil, fishing-tackle, 
and whatever else he supplied, and the property that 
the planter possessed at the commencement of the 
season, to be, in case of need, equally divided Among 
his other creditors, many an honest man would be 
saved from ruin. Another evil, of serious consequence 
to the merchants themselves, arises out of this law: — 
When the planter or fisherman finds, after the middle 
of the season is passed, that he will not be able to pay 
• Charles Fox Bennett, Esq. 

NfiWfrOtfNDLANti. 233 

for all tfee supplies he has received, his energy becomes 
cheeked, ftota th*»convictioti that extrtt-induatry will 
be of no' benefit' to him so long as he cannot pay the 

* It is ; certain, that none of the British plantations 
have been worse governed than Newfoundland, or in 
which more confusion has prevailed. By the consti* 
tntions granted to all the other colonies, a clearly 
defined system of jurisdiction was laid down ; but the 
administration of Newfoundland was in a great measure, 
an exclusively mercantile or trading government; 
which, as Adam Smith very justly Observes,- " is 
perhaps: the very worst of all governments for any 
countty' whatever," and a powerless planter or fisher- 
man never expected, or seldom received^ justice frorti 
the s ad venturers, or theftehitfg admirals, who were their 
servants. Mr. Reeves; iti his history J of Newfoundland, 
states, u that they had been in the habit of seeing that 
species of widkednfessf atad' anarchy ever since New- 
foundland Was frequented, from ftther to son; it was 
fttVdurabl^totheir old infpressdtins; that Newfoundland 
was 1 theirs*, and that all the plantations were to be 
spoiled 1 and devoured ait their pleasure." 

There is no doubt but that so arbitrary an assump- 
tion, and practice, 5 of misrule produced the consequences 
that* severity always genefttt& ; and that the planters 
suon redotfcfl&l themselves to the principles of deceit 
and falsehood, or to the schemes that would most 
effectually enable them to elude their engagements 
with the adventurers: the resident fishermen, also, 


who were driven, from time to time, oat of Newfound- 
land, by the statute of William and Mary, generally 
tamed out the must hardened and depraved characters 
wherever they went to. 

The measures adopted for the administration of 
the affairs of Newfoundland, during the government 
of vice-admiral Sir Charles Hamilton, the first resident 
governor, and since the appointment of his sucessor, 
Sir Thomas Cochrane, the first civil, and present, gover- 
nor, will likely lead to whatever is necessary for the 
better distribution of justice. 

The peculiar circumstances of Newfoundland, as 
a great fishing colony, the greater part of the proceeds 
of which are remitted to England, in payment for 
British manufactures, and the depressed state of the 
fisheries, imperatively demands that no burden what- 
ever shall be laid upon those fisheries, either for the 
support of the executive or judicial powers, or for any 
other purpose whatever* Should His Majesty's minis- 
ters decide on laying an ad valorem duty on imports to 
Newfoundland, it will most assuredly, with the advan- 
tages that the Americans and French possess, annihil- 
ate the British fisheries at Newfoundland. This is not 
my opinion alone, but the opinion of the oldest and 
best acquainted with that colony. If public buildings 
are necessary, or a more expensive form of government 
expedient, neither can be supported at the expense of 
the fisheries. 

*T. JOHN'S 235 


Description of St. John's, &&• • • • Society. • • • Characteristics and pursuits 
of the inhabitants of Newfoundland*-** Improvement of the town, 
and tbe opening of roads through the Island considered. 

iHE harbour of St. John's is on the east coast of 
Newfoundland. Its entrance is narrow, with twelve 
fathoms water in the middle of the channel. The only 
dangers, are, the chain rock, which lies a little more 
than half way from the entrance to the basin that 
forms the harbour ; and the rocks close under the light- 
house point. On the north side, the' precipices rise 
perpendicularly, to an immense height; and on the 
opposite shore the altitude of the rocky cliffs, although 
less, is also great : on this side there is a light shown 
at night, near which there is a battery and a signal 

Fort Townshend, the usual residence of the governor, 
stands immediately over the town. Forts Amherst 
and William, on the north, are also in commanding 
situations. Another battery, called the Crow's Nest, 
is pitched on the summit of a conical hill. The chain 
rock received its name from a chain placed there for the 
purpose of stretching across the strait, to prevent the 

236 ST. jqhu'a. 

entrance of an enemy's fleet; and the harbour is, 
besides, so well commanded, by the different fortifica- 
tions, that it may be considered perfectly secure against 
any ordinary attack. 

The town is built chiefly of wood, it extends 
nearly along the whole of the north side of the port ; 
and there can scarcely be said to be more than one 
street: the others are no more than lanes. A few 
of the houses are .built of -stone, or brick> and some of 
the buildings are handsome; but the appearance of 
the town, altogether, indicates at once what it has 
been — a mere lodging place for a convenient tinie — a 
collection of stores, for depositing £sh, witji wharves 
along the whole shore, for the convenience of shipping. 
The streets and Janes are irregular, and in wet weather 
extremely dirty. St. John's, like Halifax, and other 
towns built of wood, h,as suffered severely J>y fire. In 
the winter of 1 8 15 great loss of property,- and individual 
distress, was occasioned by a conflagration tfeat took 
place ; and on the 7th November, I8I7, one hundred 
and forty houses, and £500,000 in value of property 
were destroyed by a like calamity. Another fire, which 
occurred on the 21st of the same month, destroyed a 
great part of the town that had escaped the conflagra- 
tion of the 7tji ; and on tfre 21st of August following 
the town experienced serious loss by a fourth jcalainity 
of the same kind. The fyouses, fsmce erecte^ are 
built in a much inore comfortable style than formerly. 
There are a greater number of sloops, ap4 £ st $ JP" eater 
number of public-houses, in proportion to fts §ize ? in 

st. John's. 237 

St. John's, than » in mo&t towns. Commodities were 
* formerly very dear ^ «£ preseasy jabop-goods are as low 
as in any town in ^America ; and fresb meat r poultry, 
*tti vegetables, ; although not so low>as. on the con-* 
ttnent* are not unreasonably dear. 

fhepopulalion of St- John's fluctuates sotfrequmitly, 
that ijt is.veiy;diflacBik totfttalje ilsinuznbejD8*i£ven atony 
ond pferiqd. Sometimes^ clur ^8 ^he&hipg^sf aeon, 'the 
town appears full of inhabitants ; at.others, it seems 
half deserted. At Que time. tluay. depart for the seal* 
fishery; at. another, to different fishing stations. lit 
the fall *of the year the fishermen arrive from all quar* 
ters,jto settle with the merchantg^^nd piroGure supplies 
for winter. At this period St. John's is crowded 4Rith 
people swarms of whom depart for Prince Edwardtfe- 
land, Nova Scotia, and Gape ^reton^to procurer livefc 
hood in those places among the farmers during winter. 
Many iof them never *e turn again to the fisheries, but 
remain in those colonies ; or often, if ithey have relations 
in the .United States, and sometimes wi^ep they har* 
UPt, ijwt their wny thhhan • -.;, •, ' 

Society in St. John's, particnl^rly when we &m~ 
8ioVriU^E©at f wa»t of permanency, is i» a much more 
i^s^ctsWeoondiiian than might he expected; ahd,the 
moral anjl social habits .of jtbe inhabitants are. very 
&8ermi> fros^ the description of lieutenant Chappy}!, 
(whom I vejy si*o*^ly suspect of arrogating morereM 
pset /or hiwwslf thm thp be^t class, ^f safety would 
willingly acknowledge) when he represent* the principal 
inhabitants as having risen from the lowest 5sJ)eH^£Qj 

238 st. John's. 

and the rest composed of turbulent Irishmen — both 
alike destitute of literature. The fishermen, who are 
principally Irishmen, are by no means altogether desti- 
tute of education : there are few of them but' who 
can read and write ; and they are, in general, neither 
turbulent nor immoral. That: they soon become, in 
Newfoundland as well as in all the other colonies, wty 
different > people 4x> What they were before they left Ice- 
land, is veiy certain. The cause is obvious— they are 
more comfortable, and they work chterfully. When, 
after a fishing season of almost incredible fatigue and 
hardship, they return to St. John's, and meet their 
friends and acquaintances, they indulge, it is true, in 
drinking and idleness for a short time ; and, when the 
life' they follow is considered, we need scarce be sur- 
prised that they do so, especially in a place where rum 
is as cheap as beer is in England.* 
. ■ For many years, the officers of government, and the 
merchants, returned before winter to England; but, 
since the appointment of a resident. governor, thfere 
has been also a more permanent state of society. It 
must be acknowledged, that some of the inhabitants 
who have made fortunes in the country, were, and it 
is much to their credit, formerly fishermen, and these 
men are fully as polished in their manners, and are 
equally intelligent as many of the principal merchants 
in London, or in any of the other great trading towns 

'+ Mr. Morris, of St. John's, has, witb great correctness, in a letter* 
to Lord Bexley, on the State of Society, Religion, Morals, and Education, 
at Newfoundland, described the character of the Inhabitants, p. p. 76, 
London, 182?. 

ST. John's. 239 

in the United Kingdom, who did not in early life re- 
ceive a liberal education. A great majority of the 
merchants at St John's, as well as the agents who 
represent the principal houses, are men who reoeiyed 
a fair education, in the mother country, for all the 
purposes of utility and the general business of life; 
and, are certainly as intelligent as any merchants, in 
the world. This observation will be found perfectly 
just,! if applied to the merchants and principal inha* 
bitants in all the British colonies. The amusements 
of St. John's are much the same as in the colonies 
already described. 

There are three weekly newspapers published at 
St. John's ; and there is also a book society. A semi- 
nary of education was established in 1802, for edit* 
eating the poor, where about three hundred children, 
protestants and roman catholics, are educated. It 
was established, I believe, principally through Lord 
Gambier, then the admiral on the station. 

The benevolent Irish society, established in 1806, 
by the present secretary of state for the colonies, then 
colonel Murray, and James M'Braire, Esq. then a 
merchant of eminence at St. John's, but since retired 
to the banks of the Tweed, has extended the most 
beneficial relief to the aged and infirm ; and has also 
diffused the benefits of education among the children of 
the poorer classes, by supporting a school in which from 
two hundred to three hundred of both sexes are in- 
structed. A respectable school-house is now erecting 
by the society, to contain 700 to 800 children. 

240 st. John's. 

The leading features of 'the character of 'the inha- 
bitants of Newfoundland, both atMSt. John's and aH 
the oat harbours, are, honesty, : persevering industry, 
hardy contempt of fatigue, and a laudable sense of 
propriety in moral and rdigious duties ' 

There are places of public worship- at St. John's, 
and in each of the out harbours, in which there ifeat* 
adequate population. The religious professions are 
members of the church of Engldnd, rbman catholics, 
preabyterians, and methodiste, dachii of whom have 
clergymen, among them. In the principaloufcharbours, 
also, there are schools, where the rudiments of educa- 
tion may be acquired.* 

The inhabitants are employed, the majority wholly, 
and the rest occasionally, in the fisheries. Feeding 
cattle and a few sheep, and cultivating small spots of 
land, are, also, partial, sources- of occupation. The 
women^ besides affording great- assistance: to the men, 
during the process ofi curing' fish, make 5 themselves 
useful in planting gardens and gathering the produc- 
tions of the soil. In all domestic duttes-tbey are correct 
and attentive ; and they manufacture the small quantity 
of wool they have among them into strong worsted 
stockings, mittens, and socks. 

Capital offences, are exceedingly rare, and petty 

• 1 have often-been am t»*d at'tWe descriptions drawl*; by, I daresay; very 
well meaning persons, of the lamentable state of ignorance in which the 
inhabitants of Newfoundland, and of all the other colonies, are boned. 
Nothing can. be more ontroe. The people are better informed than the 
same class in the United Kingdoms; and often have I seen settlers in 
America laughing at the ignorance of the "new comers" as they generally 
term emigrant* 

st. John's 241 

thefts are scarcely known, while property is seldom 
secured by locked doors, as in the United Kingdom. 

In the winter season much of the time of the inha- 
bitants is occupied in bringing home fuel. . Boats for 
the fishery are also constructed at this time ; and poles, .. 
&c. for fish flakes, are, or should be provided. 

There are, except in 'the immediate vicinage of St. 
John's, no roads in Newfoundland. Whether the. con- 
dition and circumstances of the colony warrant the 
opening of roads to all the settlements, is questionable; 
but, I certainly think that a few roads are necessary, to 
open a communication between Conception and Trinity 
Bay, and between Conception, Placentia, St. Mary'&, 
and Fortune Bays. It would be sufficient, for some years, 
to make these, what are called on the continent of Amer- 
ica, bridle-roads; which would in winter answer for 
sledge-roads. Carriage roads in summer would, at least, 
for the present, be unnecessary. There is now a tolerable 
road from St. John's to Portugal Cove in Conception Bay 

The propriety of granting a legislative government to 
Newfoundland, has been agitated for some time.* The 
resident inhabitants are, with few exceptions, in favour 
of the measure ; while the principal persons in con- 
nexion with Newfoundland, residing in England, con- 
sider that a legislative assembly would be injurious to 
the fisheries and to the best interests of the colony; that 
it would be inconvenient for members from the out 
harbours to come to, and remain at, > St. John's during 

• Mr. Morris, in his several pamphlets on Newfoundland, insists, 
with enthusiastic zeal, and, I am confident, with great honesty, on the 
necessity of granting a local government to Newfoundland. 

2 i 

242 8T. john's. 

the sitting of an assembly ; that efficient members, who 
were permanent residents, could not be found in the 
island ; and, consequently, that giving it a representa- 
tive constitution, would be premature and unnecessary. 

There is no doubt, but, that the internal improve- 
ment of the colony would be promoted, and that 
matters of local utility would be better directed than at 
present by the Acts of a legislative government. The 
question is, whether the great business of the colony, 
that which makes it important to Great Britain — the 
fisheries, would also, at the same time, prosper ,* and, 
whether directing the attention of the inhabitants to the 
cultivation of the soil, would not be injurious to the fish- 
eries. Here arises a doubt, the experiment of solving 
which, might be attended with dangerous consequences; 
and for a few years longer, it will, perhaps, be the 
safer way to administer the government in its present 
form ; making such alterations in the present laws, or 
such new ones, as may appear necessary by an Act of 
the imperial Parliament. 

As respects the town of St. John's, I consider it an 
object of, not only great importance, but, almost 
imperative necessity, to have a municipal corporate 
government invested with the power of making by- 
laws for the management of all matters connected with 
the town.* 

« It is almost impossible, in Acts of Parliament, to provide for the 
local improvements necessary in a town situated in a distant colony. In 
the provisions of an Act passed in 1820, for regulating the rebuilding of 
St. John's after the fires, there is a clause which directs, that where 
wooden buildings, are erected, the streets must be fifty feet wide, and forty 
feet where stone houses are built. The consequence is, that one house is 
pitched ten feet farther into the street than another. 

st. john's. 243 

The situation of St. John's ; its excellent harbour, 
combining safety of access, and the natural means of 
being easily defended ; its fortifications, and its most 
convenient position for the chief-town of a great fishing 
colony, are sufficient considerations to grant the town a 
charter for its government and improvement. In this 
opinion most of those -whom I know, either residing 
in the island or in connection with it, concur. 



Fisheries of British America.- ••• Rise, progress, and present state of 
these fisheries;* • • • French and United States* Fisheries on the Coast 
of Newfoundland, Labrador, and the Onlf of St. Lawrence."* 
Vast importance of these Fisheries, if exclusively possessed by Great 

THE cod fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, and 
along the coasts of North America, commenced a few 
years after its discovery. In 1517 mention is made 
of the first English ship which had been at Newfound- 
land ; where, at the same time, fifty Spanish, French, 
and Portuguese ships were fishing. The French in 
1536 were extensively engaged in this fishery; and we 
find, that in 1578 there were employed in it, by Spain 
100 ships, by France 150 ships, by Portugal 50 ships, 
and by England only 15 ships.* The cause of the 
English having, at this period, so few ships in this 
branch of trade, was the fishery carried on by them 
At Iceland. The English ships, however, from this 
period, were considered the largest and best vessels; 
and soon became and continued to be the admiral*. 
The Biscayans had, about the same time, 20 to SO 
vessels in the whale fishery at Newfoundland; and 
• Haklnyt.— Herrara. 


some English ships, in 1593, made a voyage in quest 
of whales and morses (walrus) to Cape Breton, where 
they found the wreck of a Biscay ship, and 800 whfde 
fins. England had in 1615, at Newfoundland, 250 
ships, amounting to 1500 tons; and the French, Bis-; 
cayans, and Portuguese, 400 ships.* 

From this period the fisheries carried on by England 
became of great national consideration De Witt ob- 
serves, " that our navy became formidable, by the 
discovery of the inexpressibly rich fishing bank of New- 
foundland." In r626 the French possessed themselves 
of and settled at Placentia ; and that nation always 
viewed the English .in those parts with the greatest 
jealousy : but, still tl^e value of these fisheries to Eng- 
land was fully appreciated, as appears by the various 
Acts of Parliament passed, as well as different regular 
tions adopted for their protection.f Ships of war were 
sent out to cpnvov the fishing vessels, and to protect 
them on the coast; and the ships engaged in the fish- 
eries as far back as 1676, carried about 20 guns, 18, ) 
small boats, and 90 to 100 men. 

By the Treaty .of Utrecht, the valuable importance 
of our fisheries at Newfoundland and New Englanfl is 
particularly regarded. The French, hpweyer, continued 
afterwards, and until tljey wer$ deprived of al^ tljeir 
possessions in North America, to annoy the English 
engaged in fishing; and in 1734 heavy complaints , 
were made by the English, who had established a very., 

• Lex Meicatona. 

f 2d and 3d Edward VI.— Acta, passed during, the reignof $lix, ; Jamea 
I, cap. 1 and 2; 10 'and ll William and Mary. 


extensive and profitable fishery at Canso in Nova 
Scotia, against the French, who annoyed them by 
instigating the Indians to commit outrages, by every 
means in the power of those who commanded the 
fortresses at Louisbourg, and other places in the neigh- 

About this period, the inhabitants of New England 
had about 1200 tons of shipping employed in the 
whale fishery ; and with their vessels engaged in the 
cod fishery, they caught upwards of 23,000 quintals 
of fish, valued at twelve shillings per quintal ; which 
they exported to Spain and different ports within the 
Mediterranean, and remitted in payment for English 
manufacture <£] 72,000.* Notwithstanding the value 
of the fishery carried on by the people of New England, 
and the important ship fishery carried on by the English 
at Newfoundland, both together were of far less mag- 
nitude than the fisheries followed by the French before 
the conquest of Cape Breton. By these fisheries alone, 
the navy of France became formidable to all Europe. 
In 1745, when Louisbourg was taken by the forces 
sent from New England, under Sir William Pepperell 
and the British squadron, the value of one year's fish- 
ing in the North American seas, and which depended 
on France possessing Cape Breton, was stated at 
i$82,OCX).t In 1748, however, at the Treaty of Peace, 
England was obliged to restore Cape Breton to the 
French, in return for Madras, which the forces of 

• Anderson on Commerce, vol. 2, 159— ibid, 332. 
f Sir William PeppereU's Journal. 


France had conquered two years before. By which 
means that nation enjoyed the full advantage's of the 
fisheries until 1759, when the surrender of Cape Bre- 
ton, St. John's, and Canada, destroyed the French 
power in North America. 

< By the third and fourth Articles of the Treaty of 
Fontainbleau, signed in 1762, it was agreed, " that the 
French shall have the liberty of fishing and drying on 
a part of the coasts of the island of Newfoundland, as 
specified in 13th Article of the Treaty of Utrecht; and 
the French may also fish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
so as thej do not exercise the same but at the distance 
of three leagues from all the coasts belonging to Great 
Britain, as well those of the continent as those of the 
islands in the said Gulf. And, as to what relates to 
the fishery out- of the said Gulf, the French shall 
exercise the same, but at the distance of fifteen leagues 
from the coasts of Cape Breton." "Great Britain 
cedes to France, to serve as a shelter for the French 
fishermen, the islands of St. Pierre, and of Mequelon; 
and His most Christian Majesty obliges himself, on 
bis royal word, not to fortify the said islands, nor to 
erect any other buildings thereon, but merely for the 
convenience of the fishery ; and to keep no more than 
fifty men for the police." 

In the history of the fishery, little of importance 
appears from this j*feriod, until the commencement 
of the war with America, France, and Spain, which 
molested and checked the enterprise of the fishing 
adventurers. The peace of 1783 gave the French 


the same advantages as they enjoyed by the Treaty 
of Fontainbleau ; and the right of fishing on all the 
British coasts of America was allowed to the subjects 
of the United States in common with those of Great 
Britain, while these were denied the same privileges on 
the coasts of the former. In restoring to France the 
islands of St. Pierre and Mequelon, it was contended 
that they were incapable of being fortified ; while it 
is well known that both these islands are, in an emi- 
nent degree, not only susceptible .of being rendered 
impregnable, but, that their situation alone would com- 
mand the entrance to the Gulf of St. Layvrenqe, if put 
into such a state of strength as it was in the power of 
France to give them. 

After the American revolutionary war, the fisheries 
of British America were prosecuted in Newfoundland 
with energy and perseverance. 

In Nova Scotia and New. Brunswick the herring,, 
mackarel, and Gaspereau fisheries were followed ; bat 
only upon a limited scale. At Percfe and Paspapiac, 
in the district of Gaspe, the cod fishery was carried on 
with spirit by two or three houses ; and the salmon 
fishery followed at Restigouch, and at Miramachi. 
The cod fishery at Arichat, on the island of Madame, 
was pursued by the Acadian French, settled there, 
who were supplied by hardy and economical adven- 
turers from Jersey. The valuable fisheries on the coasts 
of Nova-Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward 
Island, were, however, in a great measure overlooked 
or disregarded. 


The last war with France drove the French again 
from the. island of St. Pierre and Mequelon, : and from 
the, fisheries. At the peace of Amiens they returned 
again to these islands ; hut were scarcely established 
befcre the war was renewed, and their vessels and 
property seized by some of our ships pn the Halifax 
station This was loudly remonstrated against by the 
French government. 

A combination of events occurred during, the late 
war, which raised the fisheries, particularly those of 
Newfoundland, to an extraordinary height of pros- 
perity.* ' 

Great Britain possessed, almost exclusively, the 
fisheries on the banks and shores of Newfoundland, 
Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Gulf 
of St*< Lawrence ; we enjoyed a monopoly of sup- 
plying Spain, Portugal, Madeira, different ports of 
the Mediterranean coasts, the West Indies, and South 
America, with fish ; and our. ships not only engrossed 

* In 1814 the exports were 

1,246,(900 Quintals Fish, @ 40s ; .. . £2,400,000 9«. 

WHX) Ditto Core Tish, @ 12ft. 12,000 

6,000 Tons Cod Oil, @ £32 192,000 

> 156,000 Seal Skins/® 5s..- 39,000 

4,666 TonsSeal Oil, ©j^afr ...... 167,976 

. 3,000 Tierces Salmon, @ ,£5....". 10,000 

1,685 Barrels Mackarel, @ 30s...... 2,52710 ' 

44,b00^Catks€apliB Sounds and Tongues 44,000 

. , 2,100 Barrels Herrings, ®J25s • 2,625 

Beavers and other Furs 600 

' Pine Hn*er and PUslk •-.'.... 800 

; L , 400 PnoQUc^n?dtori|M.-.vM 3>000 \ , 

2 k ' ,.....; 


the profits of carrying this article of commerce to 
market, but secured the freights of the commodities 
which the different countries, they went to, exported. 
It was by such eminent advantages as these that the 
fishery flourished, and that great gains were realised 
both by the merchants and ship-owners. 

The conclusion of the wat was, however, followed 
by a depression more ruinous to our fisheries than had 
ever before been experienced. The causes that arrested 
their prosperity did not, by any means, arise merely 
from the changes necessarily produced by a sudden 
transition from war to peace ; but, from those stipula- 
tions in favour of France and America in our last trea- 
ties with those powers. 

It is very remarkable, that, in all our treaties with 
France, the fisheries of North America was made a 
stipulation of extraordinary importance. The minis- 
ters of that power, at all times able negociators, well 
knew the value of fisheries, not merely in a commer- 
cial view, but in respect to their being necessarily 
essential in providing their navy with that physical 
strength which would enable them to Cope with other 
nations. The policy of the French, from their first 
planting colonies in America, insists 'particularly on 
raising seattien for their navy, by means, of the fisheries. 
The nature of the French fishery was always such, 
that one-third, or at least, one-fourth of the men em- 
ployed in it were green men, or men who were never 
before at sea ; and they, by this trade, breed up from 
4000 to 6000 seamen annually. 

FISHftRIES. 251 

In ceding to France the right of fishing on the, 
shores of Newfoundland, from Cape John to Cape 
Ray, with the islands of St. Pierre and Mequelon, we 
gave that ambitious nation all the means that her 
government desired for manning a navy ; and if we 
were determined to lay a train of circumstances, which, 
by their operations would sap the very vitals of our 
naval strength, we could not more effectually have 
done so than by granting a full participation of those 
fisheries to France and America. The former power 
immediately pursued the advantages acquired, agree- 
ably to the policy that was followed at all times by the 
French* Bounties were, and are, given ; which, if the 
fish be exported to meet us in foreign markets, is about 
equal to the expense of catching and curing; and 
which, if imported to France, is sufficient to protect 
against loss. No encouragement, however, is given, 
but with the proviso of creating seamen. 

The French have other advantages besides bounties, 
which the British fishermen do not possess. They 
obtain all their articles of outfit cheaper ; the wages 
of labour is, with them, lower ; and, they have also, 
as well as having the markets of the world open to 
them, a great home-market. 

St. Pierre Island, where the governor reside*, is 
also made a depot for French manufactures, which are 
smuggled into our colonies. The ships of war which 
are sent from France to protect their fisheries, and all 
the other vessels engaged in the trade, make the har- 



bour of this island their rendezvous. The extent to 
which the French are carrying on their fisheries, and 
the number of men they have employed, are extraor- 
dinary. The great number of ships of war now in 
progress of building in France, and the vast number 
of seamen, which have been rearing since *8 15, to man 
them, show how determined that kingdom is on being 
once more a great naval power. 

By the Convention of 1818 the Americans of the 
United States are allowed to fish along all our coasts 
and harbours within three marine miles off the shore, 
(an indefinite distance,) and of curing fish in such har- 
bours and bays as are uninhabited, or if inhabited, 
with the consent of the inhabitants. The expert and 
industrious Americans, ever fertile in expedients, know 
well how to take the advantage of so profitable a con- 

From the sea-coast of Newfoundland ceded to 
France, which comprehends half the shores of the 
island, and the best fishing grounds, our fishermen 
have been expelled ; and have been under the necessity 
of resorting from two to four hundred miles further 
north, to the coast of Labrador, where they are again 
met by swarms of Americans. 

By particular circumstances, and the better to 
accomplish their object, the Americans are known to 
act more in union, guided by one feeling, on arriving 
on the fishing coasts. They frequently occupy the 
whole of the best fishing banks to the exclusion of our 


fishermen ; and their daring aggressions have gone so 
far as to drive by force our vessels and boats from their 
stations, and to tear down the British flag in the har- 
bours and hoist in its place that of the United States. 
They are easily enabled, from their vastly superior num- 
bers, to take all manner of advantage of our people. 
They frequently fish by means of seines/ which they 
spread across the best places along the shores ; and 
thus prevent the industry and success of the British 
fishermen. The crew of an American vessel, last year/ 
which arrived on the coast of Labrador, anchored 
opposite a British settlement/ cut. the salmon net of 
the inhabitant^ set their own in its stead, and threatened 
to shoot any one who approached it. 

In order to take every advantage of the latitude 
granted them, the American vessels, during the day/ 
when they apprehend the appearance of any of His 
Majesty's cruisers anchor three miles from the shore ; 
but a? soon as night conceals their movements, they 
run under the lee of the land aqd set their nets for 
herring and mackarel. Another consequence, as our 
fishermen contend, of the Americans being permitted 
to fish so near the shore, is that the offal which they 
throw overboard, has the effect of driving the fish from 
the nearest banks, which renders the catch more diffi- 
cult and distant. . 

The net fishing, which, by the limits of three miles, 
was intented ( tobe secured to our people, the Americans 
are ingenious and daring enough to perservere in prose- 
cuting ; and thus interfere with the very boat fishery of 
the. poor men settled along the shores. 


A contraband trade, also, is earned on by the 
American fishing vessels along different parts of the 
coasts. The right of entering the harbours of our 
colonies for wood and water affords an opportunity for 
smuggling ; at which there is not in the world a more 
expert class than the Americans. At the Magdalene 
Islands, and in many parts within the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence ; at Fox Island, and other parts of Nora Scotia ; 
and along the coasts of New Brunswick, an illicit trade 
is extensively persevered in. Rum, molasses, French, 
and East India goods, and American manufactures are 
bartered generally for the best fish, and often sold for 
specie. . The French also sell brandy, wine, and 
French manufactures for the best fish, to our fishermen. 
The consequence of this smuggling tirade is not merely 
the defrauding of his Majesty's revenue, but the very 
fish, thus sold the Americans and French, was legally 
and honestly due, and should be paid to the British 
merchant, who in the first instance supplied the fisher- 
men with clothes, provisions, salt, and all kinds of 
fishing tackle. There are, indeed, such a multiplicity 
of courses pursued in these fisheries, by the Americans, 
ever apt, in finding out all the methods which serve the 
purpose of gain, that it would be quite superfluous to 
recapitulate more than I have stated. 

In the shape of bounties, they are encouraged by 
their government; and as they conduct their fisheries 
in the shape of expense and outfits cheaper than we 
do, and on a different principle, they are enabled to 
bring their fish to market at half the price of ours. 


There are two mode* of fitting out for the fishery 
followed by them. The first is accomplished by six or 
seven farmers, or their sons, building a schooner during 
winter, which they man themselves, (as all the Ameri- 
cans- on die sea-coast are more or less seamen as well 
as farmers,) and proceed, after fitting. the vessel with 
necessary stores, to the banks, Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
or .Labrador ; and loading their vessel with fish, make 
this voyage > between spring and harvest. The pro- 
ceeds they divide, after paying any balance they may 
owe for outfits. They remain fat home, to assist in 
gathering their crops, and procefed again for another 
cargo, which is salted down, and not afterwards dried; 
this is termed need-fish, and kept for home consump- 
tion. The other plan is, a merchant, or any other, 
owning a vessel, lets her to ten of fifteen men on shares. 
He finds the vessel and nets. The m^n pay for aU.the 
provisions, books and lines, and for the salt necessary 
to rate their proportion of the fish* One of thei num- 
ber is acknowledged master ; but he btts to catch fish as 
well as the others*, and receives only about twenty shil- 
per month for navigating the vessel: the crew, have 
five-eighths of the .fish caught, and the owners thftt- 
eighths of the whole. 

In tbete fisheries the Americans have annually en- 
gaged from 1800 to 8000 schooners, of 60to 180 tons, 
HtfWttd with 3000. These vessels are employed again 
during winter in the coasting trade, or in carrying §*h 
and other produce to South America and the west 
Indies. • u , . . 

256 PISHSBMt. 

To the depreciation of the value of fish in foreign 
markets, caused by the privileges thus, granted the 
.French and Americana, and in a particular degree to 
Ike : limited demand for fish oils in the home market, 
may be attributed, nearly altogether, the depressed 
and still declining condition of the British American 
.fisheries. * The heavy duties exacted in Spain, Portu- 
galy . and; ■ Italy, occasion,, 90 ; doubt, less demand for 
fish in those countries than formerly : but, notwith- 
standing this circumstance, bad we but retained our 
fishing grounds, we should not meet with such power- 
ful competitors in the markets of ; the world. 

Nothing- could be more' unwise than to allow either 
tJieFrenchor Americans to enter theiGulf of St. Law- 
reiice ; it is a Medittrranean, bounded by- our colonies, 
and those powers bad neither right nor pretence* to its 
shores ot its fisheries. 

v-'r^^n^^Mviuoiftl governments a of Neva Scotia and 
^(v # v> - NTIdlliuuiUuud have extended, it is true, every possible 
eneouragement in support of the fisheries, in the shape 
of bounties ; but, -as these arediawirftotn the colonial 
revenues, it is giving a direction to a portion of those 
funds to enable their fishermen to edfcipete with their 
rivals, which would otherwise be judiciously expended 
on internal improvements* Yet, it fe found absolutely 
tofedes*&y to grant these bounties id ptotbct the fehing 
ad^enturerstfrommim The Newfoundland fisherfiien 
refeeiV^ no encouragement of this 5 kftad, nor can the 
condrli6n a^d»<^nx^mstanceB of the colony afiotd my. 
The best protection that can now be extended to these 


fisheries is, not to lay even the smallest duty on any 
article that is either directly or indirectly required for 
the fisheries. As respects Newfoundland, in particular, 
there is not an individual living on the island but who 
is either immediately or distantly connected with the 





NOTE A,— Page 62. 

The exports from Great Britain to her American colonies consist 
principally of home manufactures. East and West India goods, Hol- 
lands, brandies, wines, fruits, and a few other foreign articles, 
are also reshipped ; bnt the proportion in value, of these, is tri- 
fling, when compared to the amount of British goods. The princi- 
pal articles exported to the North American settlements are, salt, 
and all kinds of fishing tackle, naval stores of every description, 
wrought and cast iron, agricultural implements, earthenware, glass- 
ware, saddlery, manufactured leather, hardware, stationary, woollen, 
cotton, and linen goods, the greater part of which are of a coarse 
description, and manufactured expressly for exportation. 

To the principal towns in America fine cloths, linens, cottons, 
. silks, and all manner of fancy goods, such as are to be found in the 
London shops, are exported. 

NOTE B.— Page 67. 

Pic-nic excursions are much in vogue all over America. To show 
how far these differ from any thing to which they may be compared in 
England, it may be sufficient to observe, that pic-nic parties generally 
consist of families of respectability, with their friends, who are on 
a perfectly intimate footing wkh each other. In summer some roman- 
tic spot is fixed upon, to which the party proceed ; if by water, which 
is most commonly the case, in an open boat ; or if by land, in gigs, 
or in calashes, and on horseback. The ladies consider it as within 
their particular province to furnish the eatables. The gentlemen 
provide wines and spirits. At these parties there is usually less re- 


strajnt and more enjoyment than at the assemblies. On some grassy 
glade, shaded by the luxuriant branches of forest trees, and not far 
from a clear spring or rivulet, the contents of well-filled baskets are 
disclosed ; feasting on which, forms certainly the most substantial part . 
of the day's enjoyment ; but, perhaps, the-most agreeable is that which 
succeeds, when the party divides for the pleasure of walking, and 
there are, undoubtedly, "worse occupations in the world" than wan- 
dering with a pretty woman through the skirts of a wood, or along 
the margin of the sea, enjoying "sweet converse," and the delights 
of the open air ana" surrounding scenery. As the evening approaches 
they re-assemble, and the party, followed by their servants, bringing 
along the fragments of the plc-nic, return to the boat in which they 

The evenings, at this season, are usually clear, agreeably warm, 
and tranquil; the sea calm and unruffled, and as neither the wine nor 
the wreck of fowls, hams, &c. are forgotten, a repetition of the pic- 
ric may be said to take place on the water. 

ft sometimes happens that on returning from these parties, the tide 
has ebbed so for that the boat cannot approach within a hundred yards 
of the shore; but, as it would be extremely ungallant to allow the 
ladies to nmain any -time without landing, the gentlemen, let their 
rank in society be what it may, (if even member* of His Majesty's 
colonial council, judges of the supreme court, or the principal officers 
of His Majesty's customs J all get into the water; and, although often 
sinking at every -step more than a foot into the mud, each carries a 
lady in his arms to dry terra firma. 

The rendezvous for winter pic-nics is usually a respectable farm 
house, some miles distant in the country. No small part of the 
pleasure of these excursions Is enjoyed iu dirving to the appointed 
place with a lady, in a well furred and cushioned cabriolle, drawn 
over the snow or ice by one or two horses. These carriages take but 
*wo persons ; the gentleman drives, as their is no seat in front for a 
-servant. If the ice be smooth and glibly, and if the wind blows 
ncroes the cabriolle, it is frequently twirled round, bringing the horse 
top at the same time with it, although generally going at great speed. 
These carriages, on turning corners, or passing over uneven roads, 
frequently overturn, leaving the passengers behind ou the snow; 'but 
scarcely ever injured, although annoyed at the by-standers,wlio laugh 
irresistibly" at their awkward condition. 


'As servants «re setdet* tmraghtto awcwd at. these winter parties, 
«1ie^tte»en, as*oon a»th^tiko4tt»lrf«irwmipanioii8antof the 
ca r liagB* aatf fetter thwro intn the hwase, leave them far a short tine 
to flee ffhefr tanfeev properly taken <w»e of. By the tame they tetnrn, 
the ladies have disencumbered themselves of mulls, cloaks, and pelisses; 
and the frosty and bracing temperature of the season having, by this 
time, produced a corresponding sharpness of appetite, the pic-nic, to 
which they now all sit .down, is enjoyed with all possible zest and good 
.•humour. Soon after, a country dance is announced; the mnsic strikes 
4»p, and the. party "tripping it. off " on the light -fantastic toe* seldom 
break op before day-light the following morning. The night is thus, 
with eating, drinking, and dancing, spent in high delight; and when 
the hoar of .departure draws nigh, the ladies .return to hap themselves 
•up in their winter habiliments, while the gentlemen have their 
cabriolles i brought to the door; and then each drives home with the 
lady who 'honoured 'him with her company. 

NOTE C— Page 68. 

There are, in this very face of a wood-farm, a thousand seeming, 
and it most be confessed, mam/ real difficulties, sufficient at first 40 
stagger ^people of more than ordinary firmness; but particularly an 
English fawner who has alibis life. been accustomed to cultivate land 
subjected for i centuries to » the plough. Jt is not to iie wondered at, 
that he feds discouraged at the sight of wilderness land covered with 
.heavy forest trees, which hejnnst icut down and destroy, tie. is not 
^acquainted with the use of the 'a**; and if lie were* the very piljjmr 
and burning of the wood, after the trees are felled, is a -most dis- 
agreeable lpicse of labour. Sle has, besides, to make a fence of the 
Jogs, (to ikeepioff the -cattle and sheep, which are allowed, to range at 
-larger; and then ;he must aot only submit to the hard toil of hoeing in 
potatoes or grain, but often to coane diet. Were it not ior theex- 
jttnple which lie has-jbefoie him of others, who had to undergo similar 
Jwrdsbips before thef attained the means which yield them indepen- 
dence and -eomfort, he might, indeed, give up in deapair and be 
forgiven for doing so. 

A fanner from Yorkshire, who settled a few years ago on lands 
1«longingi to JSir James Montgomery and brothers, with whioh I had, 
at the time, Something todo, was one day complaining iof his hand 
work and hithar* Mving at the aame time. He said with a sign that 


reminded one of the mnrararing children of Israel longing for the "flesh 
pots of Egypt", "Aye, metuter, if I waur in Yorkshire neow, lie had 
some fat baccon pop$." This same man, however, has since surmounted 
all difficulties, and has "fat bacon pies" as often as be pleases. 

NOTE D.— Page 69. 

Of all the civilized people of America, there are none who can 
more readily accommodate themselves to all the circumstances peculiar 
to a country in a state of nature, than the descendants of the people* 
who first settled in the United States. 

Far from being discouraged at the toil of clearing auew farm, they, 
in countless instances, make, what may with great propriety be called, 
a trade of doing so. These people fix on a piece of wood-land, clear 
a few acres from the trees, build a tolerable good house and barn, and 
sell the land and improvements the first opportunity that offers. When 
this is accomplished, they probably travel one, two, or three hundred 
miles before they settle on another wood-farm, which they dear, build 
on, and dispose of in the same maniier as the first. 

The farmers and labourers born and brought up in America, possess, 
in an eminent degree, a quickness of invention, where any thing is 
required that may be supplied by the use of edge tools; and as carpen- 
ters and joiners, they are not only expert, but ingenious workmen. 
They have, indeed, the dexterous knack of turning their hands to any 
thing necessary; such as repairing their edge tools, tanning leather, 
makingshoes; sledges, carts, building boats, making casks, baskets, &c. 
That they do not always succeed well as farmers, is not surprising, as 
agriculture requires that a man should apply to it the principal share 
of his time; although it is almost indispensable for the American former, 
particularly in the less populous parts, to be able to mend a plough, 
cart, or harrow; and to know how to tan the skins of the cattle he 
kills, as well as to make or mend his own shoes. 

The farmers' wives manufacture for domestic wear, a woollen cloth, 
generally dyed of a light blue colour ; the threads of which are coarse, 
but closely woven. They make also a cloth something like the Scotch 
drugget, and a stuff cloth which is wholly of wool. Some of the linens 
which they make of the flax that grows on their farms, are rather of 
a fine quality, bleached on the grass, and said to be durable. They 
have lately begun to make a cloth of cotton yarn. Almost every farmer 
in the thinly settled districts has a loom in his house; and their wives 


or daughters not- only spin the yarn, bat weave the doth. The quan- 
tity, however, manufactured by the fanners, is not more than half 
what is required to clothe their families. The lionises of the American 
loyalists, residing in the British colonies, are better constructed, more 
convenient, and clean within, than those of the Highland Scotch, and 
Irish; or, indeed, those of any other settlers, who have not lived 
several years in America. Although the house of an English farmer, 
from his awkward acquaintance with edge tools, is usually very clumsy 
in its construction, yet that comfortable neatness which is so peculiar 
to England, prevails within doors; and the virtue of cleanliness is one 
that few Englishwomen when abroad ever forget. The Highland Scotch 
unless intermixed with other settlers, are not only careless in many - 
particulars of cleanliness and comfort within their own houses, but 
are also regardless of neatness and convenience in their agricultural 
implements. AH this arises from the force of habit and the long pre- 
valence of the make-shift system, for whenever a Scotch Highlander 
is planted amidst a promiscuous population, no one is more anxious 
than he is to rival the more respectable appearance of his neighbour. 
The Scotch from the lowland counties, although they generally know 
better, remain, from a determination first to acquire property, for 
some years regardless of comfort or convenience in their dwellings; 
but they at last build respectable houses, and enjoy the fruits of their 
industry. The lower classes of Irish, familiarised from their birth to 
a miserable subsistence and wretched residences, are, particularly if 
they have emigrated after the prime of life, perfectly reconciled to any 
condition which places them above want ; although not by any meana 
free from that mechanical habit of complaining, which poverty at first 
gave birth to. From the American loyalists, who are honest and 
stationary, we must exclude those people who make a business of 
clearing a few acres of a wood-farm and then setting it, so soon as a 
convenient sum can be obtained for the same : these men are often 
destitute of honest principles, and will run in debt and cheat when an 
opportunity offers ; yet, this, like many private vices which often 
become public benefits, makes these people useful in their own way, 
they being the pioneers that open the way to the remote districts. 

NOTE E.— Page 70. 

As warm a veneration for the royal house of Stuart exists as 
strongly among the old Highlanders who are settled in different parts 
of America, as was ever felt in Scotland; bnt with this difference, 


that, they are riwam\f and »*nfnUy attached. to,&* •«**** rojwl 
family. The enthusiasm o€ tfoese brave Gcka iff by nevUMftu* ei a 
lebdlaMS'orturMM* nature* but of kind andvn^aJteteatntiar 
persons whom they consider nnfbrtanaftf, and. whom* by aH tint aieo> 
datipn* of childhood, they w«i» inclined to respect; Nothiptfeennr** 
hntedaaom to produce those feeling* than tittlejanta and ton*4f 
the; hignJamden. That statesman knew the, hunwuviChafeeter well 
who/saM *Metmewi#e the nans* of»ycQHntry > ,aij4kt'wbowmbe 
at the head- of th*gowwn*nft, I wtit*nle the. peopto*' . 

NOTE F r _Pafce 7£ 

The nnmfferable forwardness of sons of very, worthy and industri- 
ous men, who emigrated from Scotland to America, is most disgust- 
ing, Their fathers, by steady labqnr, have generally acquired some 
property in land and cattle. The sous, seeing few in better circum- 
stances than themselves, begin to think, especially if they have been 
taught a little learning by an Irish schoolmaster, or by ^disbanded 
soldier, that they should not labour for a living as their father*, did ; 
but, that " head work,'* or "scheming. % " will do better ; and they soon 
acquire the manners of the worst of the Americana. 1 perfectly concur 
with Mr. Harrison when he says, "that the ne plus ultra of impu- 
dence, rascality, aid villainy, is comprehended in the epithet Scotch- 

NOTE O.— Page 95. 

An agricultural society has lately been established at Charlotte 
Town. His excellency the. governor sent, when last in England, a 
beautiful high-bred stallion, and mare, to the island* and the country 
ia improving very rapidly. The non-residence of Mr. Archibald, the 
chief-justice, U a matter of the greatest inconvenience to the distri- 
bution of justice* That gentleman resides in Nova Scotia % but visits 
the island during the two terms of the supreme court, goring the 
principal term, in February, he is, from the communication, being 
closed, necessarily absent. This, as respects the. colony, is unjust; 
and however much I respect the character of judge Archibald, I am 
astonished that he remains in offee to the manifest and decided incon- 
venience of the people of a valuable .and increasing colony. I believe 
his excellency governor Ready feels the full force of the evil. A vast 

NOTES. 265 

proportion of the duties of a judge devolves upon him, at his chains 
bers, when the chief-judge of Prince Edward Island cannot be found; 
By the *ieath of my excellent friend, the late attorney genera), Mr; 
Johnston, this colony has sustained the loss of the best supporter 
of its legal and constitutional privileges. His jrare talents, elegant 
education, exteusive learning, and independent character, would dig- 
nify the most exalted legal office. . 

NOTE H.— Page 121. 
Colonel Cockburn's report, and the appendix to it, published by, 
order of the House of Commons, contains a full and satisfactory 
account of the vacant ungranted lands in Nova Scotia and the*tbex 
British colonies, as well as important information to emigrants, i The 
evidence of Mr. Bliss, as respects New Brunswick, may safely -be 
relied on. Mr. Buchanan's pamphlet on emigration, contains mnch 
information; but he dwells chiefly on the Cauadas, and does not 
• appear to be so well aqua} n ted with the lower colonies^' 

NOTE J,— Page 149. 

The description I have given of Nova Scotia is certainly no more 
than a sketch : since I have Vritten it I observe that Sir James Kempt 
lies been promoted to the office of governor-general of 'British Ame- 
rica* This pntrioce will be r indeed, fortunate j if his. successor . will 
take the same interest in promoting the prosperity of the colony. : ; 

I had omitted to observe, that there .are fire weekly newspapers 
pnblishW at Halifax. The Nova Scotian, or Colonial Herat*, its I 
presume, in a great measure, under the direction of Mr, Young, (Ari- 
cola) is < undoubtedly the most ably edited paper in North America* 
It iitta size a-counterpart of the New York Albion. ':'■;• 

NOTE K.— Page 154. 
St John's is not the metropolis of the province, but is acorpo- 
rfe city; the mayor and aldermen, of .which are elected, annually. 
¥s also a free port ; and there is in it a bank, called the bank of New 
funswick, managed by a president and directors, chosen annually 
f the proprietors. This bank has been productive of great benefit ; 
fed also of occasional injury to those engaged in commerce. It facili- 
tates sales, by discounting promissory notes at three months ; but this 






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Htotoriaf and d«scrtptlvt sketches 

Ufmr Library D05900fi1fl